In 1971, the second wave of Cuban immigration was in full-effect. The number of Cubans making their home in Miami was on the rise. Unlike the first wave that came from Cuba, made up largely of the very wealthy, the politically connected and the intellectuals, the Cubans which were arriving in the second wave were mostly upper and middle-class professionals and businesspeople accompanied by their families.
What happens when professionals and businesspeople move to a city en masse?
They start businesses.
But unlike doing business in their homeland, Cubans living in the US needed to find new solutions to running their companies. They had to invent and re-invent supply chain solutions. They had to find new ways to import and export goods. And they had to do it all while working within a new culture, in a new country, and with a new language.
It was in these circumstances that my father, Ralph De La Rosa Sr., along with his business partner, John Dominguez, started Imperial Freight Brokers.
Part of the magic of my father’s vision was that he understood the Cuban businessmen of Miami. He had a firm understanding of who they were, where they came from and how best to communicate with them. It was through building and nurturing these relationships that he was able to learn about each of his clients’ businesses and how best to address their freight management needs.
Building his business off of these types of close, personal relationships ensured that my father always provided the very best service and solutions that all but guaranteed repeat business and excellent referrals.
Ralph De La Rosa Sr. was proudly recognized as an innovator in the industry as one of the Florida Foreign Trade Association and Transportation Pioneers.
“It is undeniably a great honor to receive such an award. Not only am I immensely grateful to this industry for allowing me to advance my professional goals but also for bestowing upon me the chance to meet and do business with a group of wonderful people. I am also thankful because I’ve had an opportunity to maintain a company that has evolved into a family owned business currently run by my son, Ralph, Jr. Therefore, I believe that upon receipt of this award, we are not merely honoring the “pioneer” stages of the industry but are creating a legacy for the future, a rather promising one at that. Once again, I thank you dearly.”
More than forty years later, the company my father started is exponentially larger. We now have a global reach and a client base on virtually every continent. The volume of materials that Imperial Freight Brokers handles in a single day today would have been a staggering and unbelievable concept for my father.
But the truth is, we could not have survived, let alone thrived, if we did not consistently put into action my father’s principals:
- Know who you serve;
- Never be too big to have a conversation; and
- Every problem has a solution.