For Alex Telyatnikov, The United States was a symbol of hope for a brighter future for himself, his wife Zina, and their two young sons, Vadim and Igor. In 1991, they traveled from their native Russia to the shores of America, leaving during the reign of the last Communist leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev. They were full of dreams and aspirations but empty of finances and belongings as they were not allowed to bring anything with them. Their story embodies the American Dream of working hard to achieve success, both personally and professionally.

Petergorf Palace, near St. Petersburg, Russia

When The Telyatnikovs arrived in the U.S., aside from having little money in their pockets, they spoke very limited English. Fortunately, they did have a sponsor who helped them travel to Allentown, a city they have lived in ever since. The boys, ages 5 and 9, were immediately enrolled in school and the community responded with a kindness that Alex is thankful for. Within just a few months, the boys began to learn English and made friends. Alex and his wife were very well educated. He had multiple degrees in engineering, music, and nursing and Zina held a degree in engineering. Eventually, Alex started a wholesale business and Zina went to work as an engineer. Both boys often helped their dad with his company, learning the ropes.

In August of 1997, six years after fleeing Russia, Alex and Zina both became U.S. citizens. (Their boys, as minors, became citizens immediately after they did). Alex says, “I was so proud the day I became a citizen of this country. I still have the flag that was presented to me at the swearing-in ceremony in Philadelphia. Our family loves this country and I fly our flag with pride.”

Alex enjoying being a freelance photographer

Since becoming U.S. citizens, Alex and Zina have enjoyed traveling, both throughout the country as well as international travel. They spent time touring several countries in Asia, Europe, and even one trip back to Russia. When they’re not traveling, Alex is taking photos as an amateur photographer, something he became interested in during their travel. He says, “I was actively involved in the Lehigh Valley photography club and participated in online critique forums, attended local photography events, and got to know several professional photographers both here in the US and Russia.”

Larry Hickernell, Jr., DLP Investor Success Manager comments, “Alex and Zina are a wonderful family and we are proud to have them with us. They are incredibly interesting, accomplished, and kind, and it is an absolute pleasure to work with them on a regular basis.”

Zina will soon be retiring, and with their sons running their own successful companies and living in nearby Connecticut and New York, Alex and Zina look forward to regular visits with their three grandchildren.

Share This