James Xayaseang traveled halfway around the world to find his place as a welder for Eaglestone. Born in Laos, he came to the United States following the Communist takeover of his homeland in 1975. He then escaped through a refugee camp in Thailand, and because he knew English, it made for an easy path to come to the United States and put down roots. Besides his native Lao language and English, he also speaks French, Thai and “Mexican” Spanish.
Few of his fellow Eaglestone co-workers know that James was a professional volleyball player in Laos, where the sport is very popular. He had started playing after school when he was 16, and the coaches saw that he had talent, so he stayed involved. As in his role at Eaglestone, he was a very versatile player and played many positions on the volleyball court. After arriving in the U.S., he came to Illinois while on tour with a pro traveling team. He eventually formed a team with other local players from Laos and would train at the local YMCA. He was instrumental at assembling sponsors to help play for his team’s practice space. James continued to play the game recreationally until age 47.
More recently, though, a different sport has captured his attention. A friend he met playing volleyball introduced him to golf about ten years ago and started teaching him on a weekly basis. James now plays golf as much as he can—4 to 5 times a month at courses around the Chicagoland area. He currently has a 7-handicap, but really for him, golf is about having fun outdoors and hanging out with his friends.
Before joining Eaglestone 16 years ago, James owned his own business, so he’s comfortable with a leadership role and being someone that younger Eaglestone employees can look up to.