From the founder of an e-discovery firm to restaurateurs, foreign-born business owners explain how they have made it in America.

NABIH YOUSSEFPrincipal • Nabih Youssef Associates

When did you arrive in the United States, and why did you come?

I came to the United States from Egypt in March of 1969 to attend graduate school.

Did you intend to return to your native country at the time?

Maybe sometime in the future.

Do you now?

No; I will always enjoy visiting with family and vacationing. However, most of my family and friends, my children and their families, and my professional activities are very well established here.

Why did you start your business in the United States instead of your native country?

I developed my education and professional practice in structural earthquake engineering in California. Therefore, it was natural to start my business here.

What’s the worst thing about starting and running a business in the United States?

The unlimited opportunities, and the extreme potential for new scientific and technical concepts, can take time away from your family.

What’s the best thing?

The open and very rewarding professional opportunities.

What were the biggest surprises?

Being selected to seismically strengthen L.A. City Hall, the Coliseum and being selected to engineer the hotel at L.A. Live.

Would you tell someone from your native land to start a business there or here?

In the U.S.

What advice would you give someone from there about starting a business here?

Develop your technical and professional skills, and maintain the highest level of integrity.

Do you go back often?

On average, once every three years.

What was your view of the United States when you were growing up?

The United States was known as the land of freedom, excellence in education and research with great resources.

Did reality match your expectations?

Yes it did, and beyond my limited knowledge at that time.

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