DCTC and Inver Hills graduate runs own business and nonprofit organization
Branko Tambah, 42, has been named Dakota County Technical College’s 2020 Alumnus of the Year. Branko earned three degrees from Minnesota State two-year colleges: an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Individualized Studies (2017) and an A.A.S. in Management for Technical Professionals (2015) from DCTC and an Associate of Arts (A.A.) from Inver Hills Community College (2017).
“I am honored to be recognized as the DCTC 2020 Alumnus of the Year,” Branko said. “I can best express my appreciation by quoting Denzel Washington: ‘Don’t just aspire to make a living. Aspire to make a difference.'”
While attending DCTC, Branko received the 2015 Dave Schroeder Outstanding Student Award, which is given to honor the college’s first president, Dave Schroeder, who served from 1970–1999. Branko also received the Mark M. Welter World Citizen Award from LeadMN. He served on campus as a student ambassador and president of the Multicultural Student Leadership Association (MSLA). He was a member of DCTC Christians on Campus and the DCTC Lions Club. In 2019, he addressed graduates at the commencement ceremony along with co-speaker, Julie Tuerk.
A graduate of the Institute of Leadership & Mentorship (ILM), Branko was honored with the following awards: 2017 ILM Rise Award, IChange Nations™ Community Ambassador Award, and Golden Rule Ambassador Award. He is a member of the ILM Board of Directors and serves as the ILM director for Liberia.
Branko is continuing his education at Southwest Minnesota State University with plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in business management. He is on track to graduate from SMSU after two more semesters of study.
“Every destiny requires a bridge to fulfill its purpose, and an equal responsibility to give back.”
DCTC 2020 Alumnus of the Year
Branko at DCTC gallery
Branko finds success in Minnesota, USA…
Originally from Tubmanburg, Bomi County, Liberia, a country of 4.8 million people in West Africa, Branko spent most of his teenage and adult life in Kakata, aka Kak City, a transit town in the nation’s rubber plantation district. He studied civil engineering at the University of Liberia and moved with his family to the United States in April 2012.
Following his passion to serve humanity and country, Branko founded the nonprofit organization, Statue of Hope Immigration and Services, in 2016. The organization sponsors immigrants coming from Liberia to the U.S. for the first time as well as women and youth organizations in Liberia.
A successful entrepreneur, Branko is the owner of Tambah & Sons Construction in Eagan, Minnesota. Launched in January 2016, Branko’s business provides residential and commercial remodeling, residential maintenance and other services focused on home inspection, appliance installation and repair, construction consultancy, and new home design and building.
The business has its roots in Liberia, beginning as a dream of Branko’s father, who lacked startup capital as well as time due to family responsibilities. Branko was able to make the dream a reality in March 2007 when Tambah & Sons Construction was first formed in Kakata. The business is a source of great pride for Branko’s father and mother.
“My business was my dad’s dream when he was a student at the Booker Washington Institute (BWI) in Kakata,” Branko said. “I also attended and graduated from BWI with my first general construction diploma.”
Branko added that he found his purpose and his own dream in his dad’s dream. “I personally set up both businesses,” he said. “I always credit my dad for his vision. He came up with the name before I was born, creating a family legacy to live on and pass from one generation to another. As a first child, I help make everything possible.”
“There’s a great story to every success, but it takes one to find it.”
DCTC 2020 Alumnus of the Year
More about Branko…
Branko worked as a logistics assistant and facilities manager for the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL). He provided logistics and administrative services to the United Nations (UN) Military Division, UN Police, UN Military Observers, and the general civilian offices in Kakata for more than seven years.
Branko’s wife, Josephine, is a nursing assistant. Branko and Josephine have five children, Mary, 12, James, 11, Everetta, 8, Hannah, 4, and Blessing, 11 months.
When he’s not working and studying, Branko loves having fun with his kids, singing karaoke songs and dancing together, and reading success, life and career stories.
“I also enjoy creative thinking and writing down inspirational dreams and life goals,” he said.
Branko and his family reside in Eagan, Minnesota.
Branko Tambah • Q & A
Why should alumni stay connected to DCTC?
Staying connected to DCTC helps provide two great benefits: 1) Personal development and access to resources and 2) An opportunity to give back to the college, students and local communities.
Why should students participate in student clubs, organizations and activities while going to school?
Student clubs, organizations and other campus activities can provide unique opportunities for learning, self-discovery, personal development and growth.
Getting involved outside the classroom can be a medium through which one can become culturally sensitive while improving the interpersonal skills you need in the workforce. Also, it helps to expand your network.
Three words that describe you as an entrepreneur:
PASSIONATE. DRIVEN. PERSISTENT.
How did your degrees from DCTC and Inver Hills help you succeed as a business owner?
When I enrolled at DCTC in 2013, I had a dream of becoming a construction business owner, and DCTC helped prepare me to successfully manage and lead a diverse workforce while at the same time showing me how to resolve the technical challenges.
Inver hills helped prepare me for a successful transfer to Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, Minnesota, and now I am two semesters away from graduation. Today, I am managing and leading diverse groups of subcontractors with confidence and success.
What’s your best advice for immigrants coming to the U.S. to start new lives?
Here is my advice to immigrants coming to the United States to start new lives: Stay motivated as you keep your dream alive every day, set some reasonable goals and stay connected to people and resources that will help make your dream a reality.
Strive to make a difference in other people’s lives and work hard with consistency. Be grateful for the opportunity to be in America and remember to give back.
One word that best describes your experience at DCTC:
Branko Tambah • 12 Answers
- Favorite sport or physical activity: Soccer and American football
- Place you would most like to visit: Israel
- The most exciting thing you’ve ever done: Help people
- Three things you would do if you won a $1 billion lottery: 1) Build schools and homes for the people in the community where I wore my first shoes (locally made with tire from a vehicle); I was in the 7th grade then—I cannot forget this one! 2) Help empower poor families around the world 3) Make donations to help empower struggling college students and communities within the United States as a way of giving back for the opportunity this country and its citizens afforded me when I came here to live with my family. I am forever grateful!
- Favorite TV show you’re watching now: The Voice
- Best movie you’ve seen lately: The Pursuit of Happiness (2006)
- One thing you most want to accomplish in life: Leave a legacy that empowers and inspires others to learn, grow and succeed.
- Your national bird if you were your own country: Bald eagle
- Dream occupation: Real estate developer
- Person you would most like to meet: President of the United States
- Skill you would most like to learn and master: The piano
- Most important issue or problem facing humankind: Lack of love for people and country
Learn more about Technical Management at DCTC by contacting:
Academic & Financial Aid Advisor
Learn more about Individualized Studies at DCTC by contacting:
Athletic Coordinator & Academic and Financial Aid Advisor
Learn more about earning an Associate of Arts (A.A.) from Inver Hills by contacting: