Longmarch Bowling Logo

Frank Zhao started his bowling career in 1994February 8, 1996 · Ningbo Zhao

In July 1994, Frank Zhao was recommended by an acquaintance to work as a translator for Jim Branthaver, an American bowling technician who was conducting his first installation job in China. Prior to taking on this translator role, Frank Zhao had no prior knowledge or experience with bowling. He had never seen a bowling alley before and was unfamiliar with the word "bowling" in English. At that time, he was working as an assistant to the R&D manager in charge of golf shoes at the Reebok Dongguan Office.

Jim Branthaver had obtained this installation job from a company called Dacos. Frank Zhao recalls that Jim Branthaver mentioned that Dick Donahue and Dan Tucker were running the company. 

Unfortunately, no pictures of this particular job can be found today. Therefore, a picture taken later is included here for reference. According to Frank, the first job was quite similar to the one depicted in this picture. 

After completing the first job in Dong Guan, south China, Jim Branthaver invited Frank Zhao to Beijing for another job. It was to install a 10-lane bowling center with equipment provided by American Bowling Corporation which was based in Eugene, Oregon. Before completion of this project, American Bowling hired Frank Zhao and sent him to Shanghai to assist establishing their representative office in Shanghai in 1995.

Frank Zhao (front right) with his workers and Jim Osdale(middle) from American Bowling Corporation (Eugene, Oregon) at Xinxin Bowling Center, Huanpu, Guangdong, 1995.

To ensure the quality of bowling lane construction, Frank Zhao hand-wrote this 'Bowling Lane Building Inspection Sheet’ which was used by inspectors on the jobsite to inspect each lane being nailed.

Building 24-lane Ding Hao Bowling Center in Xintang, Guangzhou