Business Tennessee profiles several immigrant entrepreneurs from across the state:
"First generation Americans always have had to depend more on their wits and scrappiness than have their descendants. So it’s not surprising then that their paths to success make for some remarkably inspirational business stories.
In our first statewide look at some of Tennessee’s most successful immigrants, we tell some of these stories. Hailing from such places as Vietnam, Cuba and Iran - we seem to be blessed with talented folks who fled politically repressed nations - our immigrants have brought with them ample amounts of pluck and knowledge. While several that we profile began their American odysseys washing dishes and pumping gas, many brought with them technical skills that immediately boosted our economy and standard of living."
"Tennessee is lucky that these productive souls chose the Volunteer State as the field on which to play the American game of capitalism. Their successes contribute to the vitality of the state and are wonderful inspirations for those of us whose ancestors had the moxie to leave their home nations and settle in Tennessee."
The profiled entrepreneurs include Erly and Maria Alonso of Cuba, creators of Flight Support Solutions at the Memphis International Airport; Manuel Cuevas of Mexico, Nashville's tailor to the stars who was recently the subject of an exhibition at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts; Susana Navarro-Valenti of Mexico, whose $20 million Oak Ridge business does hazardous waste cleanup for the U.S. government; Hernan Montalvo of Chile, founder of InterSky Inc., a successful Memphis airline parts repair and supply company; and Colombian Fuad Reveiz, former UT football star and NFL pro-bowler who became a forward-thinking Knoxville developer with additional ventures in broadcasting and custom embroidery.