Award-winning hotel associate talks about business obstacles


Photo courtesy of Abid Talic

Immigrant Entrepreneurs Summit

Mackenzie Nading

Abid Talic is a hard-working businessman, just like many other Iowans. He works hard to provide a quality experience and excellent customer service to his customers as the general manager of the Fairfield Inn in West Des Moines.

But unlike many other central Iowa businessmen, Talic was not born in Iowa, or even the United States. Talic is an immigrant from Bosnia and has had to work even harder to be in the prominent business position he is today.

Talic was born in Bosnia and lived there until war broke out in 1992, and he was forced to leave with his entire family. Talic lived in Croatia and Slovenia as a refugee, continuing his high school education. Even through these difficult times, he found a desire to go to school and pursue his education.

“I was always fighting to overcome obstacles and always believed in education and getting a degree,” he said.

In 1995 Talic’s life drastically changed. The Bill Clinton administration ended the war in Bosnia allowing 250,000 Bosnians to move to the United States, Talic among them. He was offered work right away housekeeping at a hotel in Clive with his mom. Talic was able to speak broken English, and took on a leadership role of translating for the many other Bosnians’ in the area. As his English advanced, so did his leadership position in the hotel, and he was promoted to full-time housekeeping supervisor.

Education was always an important aspect of Talic’s life, so he made the decision to go to college in 2001. While pursuing a management degree at Upper Iowa University, he was offered the opportunity to oversee a second housekeeping department at the newly opened Fairfield Inn in Des Moines.

After being a successful housekeeping manager, Talic was offered to become assistant general manager of the Fairfield Inn. While continuing his education, he began the training process to take on the role of general manager. After a year of balancing hard work and going to college, Talic became the general manager of the Fairfield Inn, and has been in that position ever since. Shortly after, he finished his education and graduated from Upper Iowa University in 2005. That same year, he obtained his American citizenship.

Not only has Talic been successful in the career field, he also has made great strides to improve and be involved with the immigrant community of Des Moines.

“As I was studying, going to school and working, I also got involved in communities in Des Moines,” Talic said, “Living in so many places and encountering so many cultures has broadened my view and given me a key interest in diversity.”

Being a successful businessman and wanting to be involved with the diverse community of Des Moines, Talic was drawn to the Iowa Immigrant Entrepreneur’s Summit, which had its annual gathering Saturday at Drake University in Des Moines.

The summit brings businesses of diverse backgrounds together to share, learn and celebrate the immigrant entrepreneur experience and help one another along the way. The summit has been encouraging business professionals to break the barriers and reach their goals, opening doors and broadening the hopes of immigrant entrepreneurs from all across Iowa just like Talic.

“The Iowa Immigrant Entrepreneur’s Summit brings all immigrants together to discuss how to be involved in American entrepreneurial practices,” Talic said.

The summit is helping to educate immigrant communities to what they can become. They also are gaining additional intellectual and financial resources by opening the economy to a global enterprise to build a solid foundation for the future.

Talic has received two prominent awards throughout his career. He was nominated for the JW award of excellence, placing among the top 10 hotel associates in the world, and in 2008 he was given the Iowa Immigrant Entrepreneurial Summit Award. Although his successes are numerous, Talic is very humble about his achievements.

Talic said his business life revolves around four principles: integrity, quality, community and profitability, which he learned from the company he works for, Concord Hospitality Enterprise.

“By being a housekeeper, it gave me a sense of seeing these principals every day of my life,” Talic said. “They have elevated my career to where I am today.”

He also acknowledges the Iowa Immigrant Entrepreneurial Summit for helping his success.

“It helped me to broaden my horizon as far as the potential of an immigrant community to help the entire state of Iowa’s business communities to exceed at an even higher level,” Talic said.