Plymouth Harbor staffs over 300 employees, of which 113 have origins outside of the United States. Our employees come to us from all corners of the world, bringing with them their own unique knowledge, skills, ideas, and talents. With such a broad background, our staff comes together to create an inclusive, diverse Plymouth Harbor atmosphere that makes employees feel part of a true family. Each person has their own story of how they came to work at Plymouth Harbor, and learning
their stories helps us better understand how to work together.

Marcos, an E-Tech in the Housekeeping department, was born and raised in Brazil. He earned a degree in architecture and worked for the government for two years before moving to the U.S. As a federal architect, Marcos helped design and develop affordable housing out of recycled materials for those in need. He and his team were able to build a one-bedroom, one-bathroom home in as little as 15 days, all using recycled materials and resources from the rain forest, such as resin to seal the homes from water and humidity. He and his wife Sandra, who also works at Plymouth Harbor have one daughter, who is earning a degree in criminology at USF with the help of a Plymouth Harbor Foundation scholarship.

Billy, a cook in our main kitchen, moved here from the Dominican Republic in 2011 in search of security. He became a citizen one year ago, and is now working towards his dream of becoming a police officer.

Roberto is also a cook in our main kitchen. He and his family moved from Lima, Peru to the U.S. in 2003 with the hopes of providing a better life for their two children. In Peru, Roberto was a business owner who ran his own store selling electrical appliances and tools. He hopes to become a citizen this year. “We are like the United Nations in the kitchen,” said Executive Chef Rene Weder, a Switzerland native.

Inga, one of our housekeepers, is originally from Ukraine. Ever since she was five years old, Inga had dreamed about living in the U.S. It took many years to get the proper immigration documentation, but Inga says it was worth it. Moving to Chicago was a dramatic change, but she loved being able to live in such a friendly, beautiful city. The people of Chicago made her feel so welcome every day, that she “cried many times walking down the street because of how nice people were,” Inga shared. Inga moved to Sarasota after seven years in Chicago, but her daughter still lives there with her husband and Inga’s granddaughter.

Before moving to the U.S. and becoming a citizen, Inga was a jack of all trades. She began her professional career as a civil engineer, first helping create submarines and then creating information bases for telephone companies. Next, she was a business owner, owning both a travel agency and a restaurant in Kiev, the
Ukrainian capital. Her final job before moving the U.S. was as an interior designer, with the president of Ukraine being one of her clients. “I have always liked to create and manage things, and I am crazy about design,” Inga said. Now, she is taking English classes at Suncoast College and plans to take business classes in the future.

In 2006, Nela, another member of our Housekeeping department, immigrated to the U.S. from Nicaragua to help her family. Before moving, she had spent five years earning a pharmacy degree and two years working in the field. Nela began saving for school when she was 17 years old, and she worked throughout her entire education to pay for school herself. When her aunt offered to help her come to the U.S., Nela made the decision to move so that she could better provide for her parents. “It has been hard work, but I am happy,” Nela said.

For many, moving to the U.S. has provided them with better opportunities and the chance of an improved life for their families. They have all made sacrifices to be here, but the experiences and stories they bring to Plymouth Harbor are what set us apart, and helps us do our job as best as possible. “Plymouth Harbor is a beautiful tapestry of people from many different countries, cultures, and races,” said Tena Wilson, Vice President of Resident and Employee Relations. “Our differences make us unique, but the love and support that we show each other and the residents every day is what makes us family.”