As a new citizen of the United States, Charles Wilmot Ackom feels that he has truly won the lottery. And in his case, he really did. Ackom, a native of Ghana in West Africa, became a U.S. citizen this July. He credits his journey to the U.S. with the Diversity Visa lottery system.
“In Ghana, if you want a chance to go to the U.S., you can apply for a visa via a lottery system,” says Ackom. “I applied for five continuous years before I got the email telling me I was accepted.”
Ackom studied mechanical engineering in college, and after an internship with Guinness Ghana Breweries, a subsidiary of Diageo, he was hired as contract staff, then full-time in the maintenance department. Over seven years, he rose through the ranks from operator technician to project engineer. Despite having a career and fiancee in Ghana, Charles had long wanted an opportunity to emigrate to the U.S. “I wanted to come to the United States because while I had a good job in Ghana, I knew my opportunities here would be much bigger, and I also wanted to explore and see the outside world.”
After an 8-month application process, including interviews with him and his fiancee separately (he credits date-stamped photos with corroborating their dating history and engagement timing), he arrived in the U.S. in April 2013 with a green card. He and his wife first lived with her parents in the Bronx, later settling in New Rochelle. Since his arrival, he moved on to a second job at Norwalk-based PDC International as a service technician, and has had two children.
On finding his job at PDC, Charles says, “PDC was my employer of choice because of the family-oriented atmosphere it creates for its employees. Employees are appreciated, rewarded, and celebrated when necessary, and this means a lot to me. I was celebrated in a grand style when I got my citizenship and this made me realize I work with not colleagues but with family.”
As a new citizen, Ackom says he feels elated, but sober at the same time. “I really feel above the sky, but also realize what a big step citizenship is. As an American, you have privileges, as well as opportunities – all over the world. I always felt that if you work hard, you will be able to get the most out of your life. This is a country where I believe that has proven the most true.”
PDC International Corp. is a world leader in shrink sleeve labeling and tamper evident neck banding technology for packaging in the food, beverage, personal care and pharmaceutical industries. For more information, please visit www.pdc-corp.com, or contact Gary Tantimonico at (203) 853-1516 or firstname.lastname@example.org.