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Just Ask Dan
department. Two years later, he’s
managing the bar at that very same
hotel—one of San Antonio’s ;nest.
Today, Dan has a smile on his face and
joy in his heart because he’s back in the
land of opportunity.
Dan has learned what many people
often forget. The chance to compete
is a gift, a very great gift. Sometimes
we get down about this hurdle or
that challenge, this setback or that
disappointment. But the real story is
that we can compete at all. Success isn’t
guaranteed. It takes hard work. It may
even take a little failure along the way.
But all the effort is worth it. In fact, it’s
more than worth it.
If you don’t believe me, just
General Manager, PEI
Editor in Chief, PEI Journal
In January, I had the privilege of journeying to
San Antonio, Texas,
to participate in the
meeting for what
may be PEI’s next big program. It’s
called “PEI Women,” and you can learn
more about it in President Phil Farrell’s
column on page 9 in this issue of the
Everyone present went home with
lots of ideas—myself included. However,
I left San Antonio with one other
takeaway as well—one that had nothing
to do with the “of;cial” meeting.
On our last night, we all gathered
informally in the hotel lobby bar before
dinner. After everyone else scattered,
I stayed behind to settle up. The bar
manager, Dan, dropped by to say how
much they had enjoyed having our
group. We ended up talking for 15 or
20 minutes. Really, Dan did most of
the talking. I just asked questions and
listened to his story.
Dan and his family came to the
United States from Colombia in the
1990s with a little bit of cash and a very
big dream—a dream of starting an
airport limousine business in Miami.
For several years, the business was
;ying high (no pun intended). Then
came Sept. 11, 2001.
Miami may have been a world
away from New York, but one of the
after-effects of that terrible day was that
for a time people stopped ;ying. The
fear of another airborne terrorist attack
was just too great. And when people
stopped ;ying, they also stopped hiring
airport limousines. As a result, the
family business was soon in trouble.
Ultimately, they just didn’t have
enough customers to survive.
When the business failed, Dan and
his family moved back to Colombia,
where friends had offered to help
them get back on their feet. They were
happy to be home. But every day—for
the next nine years—Dan dreamed
about returning to the United States.
For Dan, the United States was still the
land of opportunity.
Two years ago, Dan again took a
chance. He gathered his savings, said
goodbye to his family and moved to
San Antonio. Before long, he had an
entry level job in a hotel’s catering
THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
FROM THE GENERAL MANAGER
FOLLOW ME ON T WIT TER:
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Associate General Counsel
Editor in Chief