The Axenics family extends a huge congratulations to our very own Nelson Hernandez who became a proud citizen of the United States on Friday, March 20, 2018 (and we’d also like to mention that a week later he became a new husband too!). Nelson is a member of our engineering design team and a project manager with us. He’s been a loyal, exceptional employee of Axenics for eight years and we are so proud of him today!
Nelson is originally from the Dominican Republic where he was studying to be an architect. He came to the U.S. about seven years ago. He lived in Nashville initially and tried to go back to finish his degree, but circumstances didn’t allow for it at the time. He put that dream on the back burner for a while and focused on his work and family.
His family was living there at the time as well and he was trying to help them. “Between work and trying to help them out I didn’t really have time to pursue any of the stuff that I wanted to do,” says Nelson. “When I started working at Axenics, Dan (Reynolds) and Chris (Coutis) were always supporting me and helping me to do something better for myself and to plan for the future.”
When Nelson started working at Axenics, he was working on the floor as a technician. Eventually, he did return to school, utilizing Axenics tuition reimbursement program, to complete his engineering degree at Nashua Community College. He expects to complete it by late 2018 or early 2019. From there he wants to enter a four-year degree program.
His quest to become a United States citizen began in 2016 when he came across the opportunity and decided to pursue it. He talked to Axenics’ General Manager Dan Reynolds who was fully supportive and offered any help he or the company could give. Nelson then began the paperwork, submitted it, and entered the waiting period.
For the next several months, Nelson underwent a rigorous process to gain citizenship. “I went through some very intense background checks,” he said. “I had several interviews and had to take the citizenship test that included questions on history, civics, and a bunch of stuff nobody knows anymore. (he chuckled) The most interesting part was learning about the history. You know, you see it in the books, but you never really pay attention to it.”
Once he passed the citizenship test, he had final interview and was informed that he was a U.S. citizen! The ceremony in Concord, NH, on March 20, made it official for 77 brand new citizens from 32 countries. It was presided over by Judge Paul Barbadoro, who told them that he loved doing the ceremonies because his own family had emigrated from Italy and had gone through the same process to become citizens.
“He said he loved doing the ceremonies,” Nelson said. “He said knows the process of going to a new country, starting from zero, working your way up and reaching your goals. He had wonderful words of encouragement – inspiring people. He said ‘There’s a story of why you came to the U.S. Now it’s up to you to keep the story alive.’”
As a U.S. citizen, Nelson returned to the Dominican Republic with his bride-to-be for their wedding ceremony in early April. They also took a short honeymoon there as well. Upon returning to the States, he has turned his focus back to completing his degree as a mechanical design engineer.
“When Nelson came to us and said he wanted to go for the design engineering degree, it fast tracked him to move him up to the office,” Dan Reynolds said. “He’s eventually going to be our full time design engineer. To me, it’s a nice story; he started on the floor and he’s working his way up to probably running the department some day.”
Right now, Nelson is pretty busy at Axenics. He is running the CNC Bender. He sets it up and is currently running a training program for the guys on the floor. He is also doing a lot of design engineering for new customers, and he is looking for ways to keep Axenics on the cutting edge of technology with the latest equipment and processes.
“It has been an exciting journey, a lot of sweat and tears, but good.” says Nelson. “I think the most exciting part is that I can transmit my success to other people. Not by just telling them ‘do this or do that’ or ‘do better,’ but by showing them. I can say, ‘Hey, I started where you are. Look at me now. And it’s all because I wanted to put the extra effort into it.’”
And THAT is what it’s all about.