Starting From The Bottom

By: Elbin G. Torres Rivera

What happens when you have to give up everything you have and have ever known? What happens when you have to start your life, all over again, from the bottom?

This was the case of Pedro R. Tejada, born in Moca, Dominican Republic in July, 1957. His family made a decision and migrated to the United States in 1963.

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Pedro R. Tejada in his home in Barranquitas, Puerto Rico.

His was not the “typical” migration story published in the media and featured in Hollywood movies. His, was not the case in which a poor migrant family moves to another country looking for a better economic situation in life.

Tejada’s childhood was filled with happy family moments and experiences. Hs family didn’t pass any economic hardship. On the contrary, he had many luxuries that the average Dominican boy of his generation did not have.

“My father, Rafael “Pucho” Tejada, was the General Counselor of the Dominican Republic in the U. S. and the Ambassador to the Organization of American States. He was a diplomat,” said Tejada.

Generally immigrants from Latin America and the Caribbean who relocate to the United States are economically disadvantaged. That was not Tejada’s case.

His brothers studied in Texas A&M University and the Illinois Institute of Technology. The rest of the family studied at a private catholic school by the name of Saint Gabriel School in New York State.

While on his15 years old, his family returned to the Dominican Republic. Young Tejada was not very happy with that decision.

At the age of 16, he migrated on his own to the U. S. There, alone and without any money, he began working at a family business that belonged to his father.

“Through the years there have been different people that have tried to commit social injustice towards me because I am Dominican, but I really never took that very seriously. Therefore I was never really affected by it,” said Tejada as he reflected on his youth and early adulthood in the United States.

The business was going well and he began climbing in the business industry in the U.S. Nonetheless, he decided to leave all that behind and relocate in Puerto Rico when he was 25 years old.

“I fell in love with a Puerto Rican woman. We got married and eventually moved to Puerto Rico so that she could be closer to her family,” Tejada said smiling.

He arrived in Puerto Rico in July, 1984 and began working for the San Juan Star Newspaper Company. After that he moved on to work at an environmental company where he remained for 11 years.

Looking for a change on his course, he and his wife started their own environmental company called Right Way Environmental Contractors, Inc.. The company, which is still in charge of cleaning solid wastes produced by other companies and industries.

The Tejada’s company slogan is: “Problem solving by integrating forward thinking, new technologies and logistics with common sense to achieve successful, safe and cost effective projects.”

The Tejada’s company is doing very well in business. His family has become wealthy but Pedro does not forget where he came from and his family roots.

He is very proud of his family, especially his father, who is his inspiration and pride. His father was part of the movement called “14 junio” which struggled to topple the Rafael Trujillo’s dictatorship, which lasted 30 years.

His father told him that hard work pays the dividends.

“Trough a lot of work and persistence, coupled with a high degree of support from my family, I have been able to deliver on my promises to my clients,” said Tejada reflecting on his father’s lesson. This has allowed him to create “long term relationships in the business world.”

His niece’s husband, Mario Torres, who has known Tejada for many years, regards him as a very modest and helpful person. I think he is a very strong example of overcoming obstacles and improving in life. It does not matter if you are a family member or not, if you need help, he would help you,” said Mario Torres.

Through his life, Pedro Tejada has endured business troubles, social and economic problems that have made it difficult for him to keep on. But he persevered. The thought of quitting never occurred to him; on the contrary, he envisioned uphill struggles as opportunities to make his dedication and persistence shine.

“My advice to younger generations that are coming up would be to always consider that success requires hard work on a long term basis, because the ladder of success has to be climbed one step at a time. I would advise them to keep high ethical standards in whatever profession they chose,” Tejada said.

“Life is simple. You have to live by the golden rule of doing to others as you wish that it would be done to you,” Pedro Tejada consciously said.

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