Mario Vargas is the owner KYD Logistics, a delivery company based in Covington, Georgia. Born in Mexico, he has been a permanent resident of the United States since 1989 and enjoys the benefits and opportunities that this country offers to motivated individuals like himself.
However, things were not always easy. From a young age, Mario was committed to pursuing a career in journalism. He attended the University of Chihuahua, Juarez, and while he was still in college, he was hired as a part-time writer for Novedades and El Fronterizo papers. Later that year, he applied for a full-time job with one of Mexico’s main newspapers but was discouraged by the corruption found in his country.
During his first interview, the hiring manager asked him for money. He wanted $700 dollars from Mario to “buy“ a position as a writer for the paper. Disappointed by the situation, Mario didn’t know what to do next. “It’s a shame. It is not just about laborers. So many young professionals and particularly recent graduates struggle to get work. They come out of school with great skills and bright minds but it all goes to waste because of corruption.”
While he considered moving to the United States for a better future, he was also quite hesitant to make the move. However, he soon realized that that if he ever wanted to be successful, he would have to find a different approach, even if that meant leaving everything behind.
“I had never really thought about moving to the U.S. prior to 1989, but after that incident during the interview, I realized that if I wanted to achieve my goals, I would need to find a place that would praise my motivation. In the U.S. it’s not about ‘who you know,’ it is always about the way you think, and how you envision opportunities. That’s how you make things happen.
“I wasn’t sure. Even my brother told me: ‘If you go there, you’ll end up washing dishes somewhere.’ He was right. That was my very first job in a restaurant in Chicago, but for me, it was all about a new world and a new learning experience. I never saw ‘washing dishes’ as a job that was beneath me. On the contrary, it was a decent way of earning a living. It was a way to make good money.”
Although it was difficult to get started, Mario had a positive attitude. When he first started working, he was being paid $4.25 per hour. He was in his late 20’s and it seemed like a good way to save up for something better. His goal was to earn enough money and go back to Mexico. However, he experienced something profound that changed my mind; he experienced freedom.
Mario describes freedom as the fuel that started him on a new path. After working hard for several months, he realized he could rely on his own efforts and motivation to become successful. He saw his situation as temporary and never gave up on his dream of becoming a writer for a newspaper someday. However, he decided to start thinking about owning his own business.
When he met Teresa, his now wife, they began talking about the future. They envisioned starting a business together and becoming homeowners someday. His life became about having a great future with her.
After a few years of marriage, Mario and Teresa started a family and bought a house. In 1999, they decided to start a delivery business called KYD Logistics. By the year 2000, they had bought a second house in Chicago and, eventually, decided to move their family and their business to Covington, Georgia, where they now own a house and 14 acres of land.
Mario wanted to provide the best possible life for his family and having his own business was the way to do that. While his business may not be in the field he studied in college, he enjoys the freedom owning his own business provides. A very smart and articulate individual, Mario hopes to find an opportunity to pursue journalism in the future.
When asked about what kind of advice he would give to others who may be in a similar situation, Mario shared the following:
“Do not be afraid. Do not be afraid to pursue the opportunity to achieve a better future.
“Yes, you are in a foreign country but you are here for a better life. This is the right place. Define your goals and respect the law. And, If your interest is to start and grow your business, start by knowing and respecting your community. Follow the legal route and do not be afraid to go after what you desire. That’s what this country has to offer; the freedom to pursue the type of life you want.
“In my case, life has paid with something beautiful; a wife who made my life better and the opportunity to raise my wonderful daughters. They make me very happy. I am very proud of them. For now, it is all about my family and my girls going to college. But in the future, I’d like to contribute to society, somehow, by talking to fellow Latinos about what this country has to offer, and I am sure many others will be able to relate to my struggles and my success.”
How do you feel about Mario’s story?