First-Generation Mexican-American Serves His Community Through His Business

At age 10, Victor Puga left his native Mexico for Kentucky. Since his father had been naturalized through the Reagan Amnesty of 1986, Puga arrived as a U.S. citizen. Still, his path wasn’t easy. He became a father at a young age and dropped out of school to work for his dad’s construction business. “I couldn’t go to college, because I had to support my family,” Puga says.

For 10 years, he worked long hours for little pay. But he dreamed of running his own company and studied up on the business of construction. “My dad always told me, ‘Money doesn’t come to you while you’re sitting on your couch, you’ve got to work for it,’” Puga says.

In 2014, at age 30, Puga struck out on his own. He opened Premiere Roofing, which oversees commercial roofing projects in Kentucky, Indiana, Texas, and Alabama. Today, he employs around 50 people, the majority of whom are U.S.-born, and boasts annual revenues of $2 million.

“Immigrants aren’t here to take people’s jobs,” he says. “We’re just trying to build a successful local business, and to do quality work helping people build their homes.”

Immigrants aren’t here to take people’s jobs. We’re just trying to build a successful local business, and to do quality work helping people build their homes.”

Sometimes this means serving the community for free. He recently donated $1,600 worth of repairs to fix the roof of Bowling Green’s Real Life Church. “The landlord didn’t want to pay for it, so I did as much as I could,” Puga says. In addition, Premiere Roofing has sponsored numerous charity golf tournaments and donated thousands of dollars to local autism charities.

Puga’s company does business across the country, but he’s proud to call Bowling Green home. “People respect and trust one another,” he says. “Bowling Green has been the best city to raise my family.”

Puga now has three sons, and he likes to remind them that Bowling Green is also a great place to start a business. He is raising them to be hard workers who, as second-generation Americans, must strive to prove themselves. “The opportunities are there—for immigrants, for American people, for everybody,” he says. “You just have to make the most of them.”

About NAE

New American Economy is a bipartisan research and advocacy organization fighting for smart federal, state, and local immigration policies that help grow our economy and create jobs for all Americans. More…