Celebrating Immigrant Heritage Month: An Interview with Tony Mbroh
As part of Immigrant Heritage Month, the North Texas Commission is highlighting the stories and experiences of our members who have immigrated to America.
NTC Board Member Anthony Mbroh serves as President and CEO of Mbroh Engineering, an engineering firm headquartered in Dallas that is led by a team of senior-level specialists with experience in electrical engineering, construction management and inspection, Instrumentation & Controls, SCADA design, security solutions, and transportation systems. With individual work histories that extend around the world, their leadership and staff have established Mbroh's reputation as a best-in-class provider of engineering design, management, and inspection services.
Where are you from originally?
I was born in the Republic of Ghana in the region of West Africa. At the age of seven, our parents relocated the family to Oklahoma in the United States.
What were your hopes or expectations for your life in America?
At the age of seven, I was too young to have any expectations other than being a kid. However, once I arrived in Oklahoma from Ghana, it became clear that we were in a completely different environment. In Ghana, our family originated from a lineage of business and community leaders. In Oklahoma, I quickly learned that everyone looked different from me and that this newfound difference was a subject of fascination in our Oklahoma community. Unlike many immigrants that arrive as adults with a focus on seeking better educational and career opportunities, my early thoughts were centered on where to play with friends and siblings. As I neared college age, it was through observing the work ethic of my immigrant parents that I began to understand their vision for why we moved. They hoped to provide a better opportunity for my siblings and me. Their strategy worked. All of their children graduated from college and established thriving careers, with several of us owning successful businesses.
How has being an immigrant changed or shaped who you are today?
Being an immigrant provides a perspective that many people do not receive from living in one area for their entire life. I grew up in an immigrant household with parents who taught us the importance of hard work. We learned the importance of not taking for granted the opportunities available in the United States. Instead of finding reasons why something cannot be achieved, I look for reasons why a challenge can be overcome. This perspective is likely the reason why I chose engineering as a career because, as an engineer, we are always seeking solutions for complex issues.
What is your proudest achievement?
There are so many “proudest achievements.” Graduating from college after losing my mother to cancer was a huge achievement, meeting my wife was a major win, having two beautiful and successful children has been an enormous achievement, and taking a gamble in 2006 to start my own company was scary at the time but has transitioned to the proudest achievement column. In the end, the college degree and successful business created the vehicle for supporting my family, which is by far my most significant achievement.
What do you wish more people new about immigrants?
Through embracing my American Citizenship and having grown up with U.S. Midwest values, I have learned that people are people, no matter where they are born. My hope and wish are that more people understand the founding of the United States, so many people made the journey to becoming U.S. citizens from around the globe, landing in places such as Ellis Island and the Port of Galveston, and deciding that this country offers amazing opportunities for everyone. Immigrants from generations ago have the same desire as Immigrants from today… to be seen, heard, and valued within the context of a safe, productive, and supportive environment.