The AVS EB-5 Way: One Family at a Time

This, my 55th year on earth, after more adventures, time zones, and miles than I can possibly remember, I can sincerely say that today, I truly love my job as the owner of American Venture Solutions Regional Center.  I mean I really, really, REALLY love my job.

I was 12 when I got my first job, spending my summer standing over on a Xerox machine as big as a 1957 Buick, making mountains of black and white copies at the office where my mother worked.   (I was the “auto-feed”, one page at a time).  I didn’t love that job, but I loved the paycheck: the minimum wage I was earning was an impressive $2/hour, big bucks for a guy into yoyo’s and skateboards.  And since that summer I’ve worked jobs ranging from busboy to bartender to diplomat and everything in between.  I remember one college summer when my Sigma Chi fraternity brother, the inimitable Charles Morehead, scored high-paying roofing jobs for himself, his brother Ben and me.  140 degrees Fahrenheit in the Miami summer sun, 45 degree roof pitch, armed with nail guns.  Ben quit at lunchtime the first day; I somehow made it to 5 o’clock, never to return.   Charles growled (accurately) about what wimps we were and, being Charles, naturally went on to become foreman, making a killing that summer.  Alas, each of us is carved from a unique mold.

So, too, are EB-5 immigrant families.  Which is why I can’t help but marvel at how Big EB-5 can round up dozens of EB-5 investors via foreign migration agents promising God-knows-what in exchange for the “commission” the U.S. SEC expressly prohibits EB-5 companies from paying, presuming that in EB-5, “one size fits all”.  Baloney. The responsibility of helping a prospective EB-5 investor and his/her family navigate the decision-making process while keeping THEIR objectives and interests first and foremost is the antithesis of how today’s EB-5 market works…but it is the only way we at AVS EB-5 know how to do our jobs.  It is undoubtedly the most inefficient way to raise EB-5 capital but, to me, it is the only morally justifiable way to raise EB-5 capital.

It is early morning in Hanoi, Vietnam and it is raining, a cool 60F degrees outside.   I can hear a congregation singing at early morning Mass in the church around the corner from the hotel.   I awoke reflecting on the miles I have logged and the continents I have traversed in just the past few months since the new year began…and on the many conversations with families considering the biggest decision of their lives: whether to pursue EB-5.  Some pray to Jesus, some pray to Allah, others burn incense in Buddhist temples, while still others struggle impossibly to reduce the great decision of family migration to rational metrics and spreadsheets, seeking to make a Spock-like, purely logical decision of whether or not to pursue EB-5.  It is this last group which invariably struggles the most because, no matter the metrics, the decision of uprooting your family to take a chance at a new life in The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave is one ultimately distilled in the heart…not in the head.

We are an extraordinary species, made in the image of our creator (whatever we call him/her/it), and that innate wanderlust of the dreamy-eyed immigrant that so befits the romantic legacy of the U.S. as The Immigrant Nation is alive and well in dreamers everywhere, Trump or no Trump.  Like my parents when they made the difficult decision to leave Castro’s Cuba in the 1960s, these folks are driven by that core human incentive: to make sure their children have the best possible future.

AVS is, at this point, a six year old EB-5 Regional Center with a little over 60 families who have had the faith in us and the courage in themselves to successfully transition to a new life in America.  Not very impressive numbers by Big EB-5 standards, but very compelling numbers to me.  I wonder how many other Regional Center owners are bombarded with birthday emails by their investors?  Or how many of them get random texts from the kids of EB-5 investors, bragging about a great report card?  Or how many of them get scolded when an investor finds out you were in town and didn’t let them know?  Such are the roots of friendship, and the foundation of how AVS has approached EB-5 since 2009, when Jud came to me and asked me to consider raising funds for their Forbes family group.

The congregation is singing “Hallelujah” now – really! – and I close today’s thoughts by repeating: I loooove my job…(-: