Gligor "G" Tashkovich '87, MBA '91
At the time, Tashkovich was an executive working on behalf of AMBO, LLC (the Albanian-Macedonian-Bulgarian Oil Corporation) on the $1.5 billion Trans-Balkan Oil Pipeline project. In previous years, he had served as consultant to many Macedonian businesses looking to tap into the international market, and also to American companies, like Western Union, looking to tap into the Macedonia market. It was challenging and rewarding work. But nothing quite like this.
"What's the catch?" asked Tashkovich.
"You have to be here in two weeks," Gruevski said.
"I'll be there."
Since moving to Skopje, Macedonia's capital city, Tashkovich's life, always busy, can be accurately described as a whirlwind. Most weeks he logs almost one hundred hours of work, 10 a.m. to midnight, often seven days a week. Half his time he's in his office in Skopje, working with current foreign investors; the other half, he's somewhere in the Middle East, or Europe, or the United States, trying to attract more. In board rooms, over and over, he makes his one-hour pitch. He talks about the new administration's tough anticorruption policies, the country's attractive tax rates (the lowest in Europe), its affordable, skilled work force, its candidate status as a member of the EU, its expectations to join NATO next year. If asked about the country's culture, he raves about its beautiful lakes, its ancient monasteries, its delicious undiscovered cuisine.
Judging by what has happened since his arrival, Tashkovich's Herculean campaign of persuasion is starting to pay off. Companies like Siemens have already decided to set up operations in the country, and the government is in serious talks with IBM and Ebags.com, among others. According to Tashkovich, the job is never easy, but it is immensely fulfilling – truly, a dream come true.
"What government major wouldn't jump at the chance to help run a country?"
– Mark Rader