“My relationship with Tadesse goes back 27 years ago, to 1994, when I started in the flavor industry as a sales account executive and Tadesse was working in the plant. In 1999, I decided to leave the flavor company that we worked at together and one of the hardest goodbyes was telling Tadesse that I was moving on. My parting words with Tadesse was that I would not leave him behind and when an opportunity presented itself, I would reach out and bring him in. That plan panned out just one year later in 2000, and then again in 2004. Tadesse was always my go-to guy to get the job done. What a privilege it’s been getting to know Tadesse and working with him at three different flavors companies-the third being Sovereign Flavors, Inc.
My bond with Tadesse started early; learning that he immigrated from Eritrea to this country in December 1983 with no money in his pocket or government assistance. His first job was working at the Goodwill for a few months and then working at gas station where he started to find early success. Hard work, honesty, integrity, and sense of humor–all attributes that made liking him very easy to do. Whenever I needed something done, Tadesse was my first call. Tadesse never said no and he would always get the job done. Some of the craziest days we shared were during the dot com craze where Tadesse would always pick that stock that we would make a quick profit on. There were also those late nights of manufacturing flavors when Sovereign first got started, and also the days where my young kids would come to the plant to visit me. As soon as they walked through the door, they would ask where Tadesse was and then run into the plant to hang out with Tadesse. Minutes later, Tadesse would be driving the forklift with one of my boys doing donuts in the parking lot. Memories and stories that will never be forgotten.
The most compelling part of the Tadesse’s story is that he is living the American Dream. When I recently sat down with Tadesse, he was very prideful on where he is at in this stage of life. He spoke of his beautiful wife and daughter and how happy and fortunate they are. He talked about his sister, who is still in Eritrea, and how he sends money to her family on a regular basis. One thing that he is most proud of is that he has never taken any government assistance. Tadesse came to America looking for opportunity, and made the most of it; an attitude Tadesse claims is deeply rooted in the Eritrean culture. It is a real simple concept: he took the first opportunity available, performed at his best, and another opportunity opened up. Tadesse repeated this formula like the ‘Richest Man in Babylon’. ” – David Ames, Owner