Amira Zukic came to America with close to nothing, but after learning English and working hard, she and her husband now run one of Kentucky’s largest trucking companies, with $17 million in annual revenues. The secret to their success? “A lot of work, a lot of work, a lot of work,” Zukic says.
Zukic grew up comfortably in Bosnia, but in 1992, at the age of 23, she left everything behind after war broke out. For eight years, she scraped together a living in Germany as a cafeteria worker and housecleaner. In 2000, she was granted refugee status and was resettled in Bowling Green with her husband and two young children. “Like everyone else, I wanted to follow my American dream,” she says.
Zukic’s husband found work in a factory, while Zukic cared for the children. But not wanting to rely on government assistance, Zukic and her husband soon took alternating shifts in the factory; one cared for the children while the other worked. Despite their struggle, the couple was optimistic. “In comparison with Bosnia or Germany, it felt like everyone was happy, and everyone had jobs,” she said.
Soon, Zukic started taking accounting courses and her husband got a commercial driver’s license. Four years after their arrival, they opened Taz Trucking out of their home. Zukic worked as dispatcher, and her husband drove the company’s only truck. Today, Taz Trucking has 100 trucks and 150 employees, almost all U.S. citizens, and is preparing for a $10 million expansion.
Zukic is grateful to Bowling Green for welcoming her family. She has tried repay that debt by supporting the local economy with her business and teaching her children to be hard-working and productive. “They have a good life, and I want them to be grateful for all the opportunities they have,” she says.
They have a good life, and I want them to be grateful for all the opportunities they have. All we want is to build a better life for ourselves and our families.”
More than anything, Zukic wants to show her neighbors that while she may have come to Kentucky as a refugee, she is now a proud U.S. citizen and giving her all to Bowling Green. “All we want is to build a better life for ourselves and our families.”