Steve Kroft: So how did you come not to know your birthday? Sister 1: Took us a long time. And of all the success stories none seems more relevant to the current debate than the tale of Hamdi Ulukaya, who came here from Turkey 23 years ago on a student visa with almost no money. New York Times Employee ownership, endorsed by both political parties in the country, makes industry more competitive and more robust. He called the company Chobani, “shepherd” in Turkish, to endow it with the hard-working and compassionate spirit of the … It said 1920 on the back.

He is a familiar, paternal presence on the factory floor, where everyone calls him Hamdi. Betsy Baio: He said, “Here’s to wishing we could ever make 100,000 cases of yogurt in a week and not worry about the light bill.” I said to my husband, “I’m gonna feel so bad when he loses his shirt ‘cause he’s never gonna sell 100,000 cases in a week.”. Thankfully, he’s grasping the value of employee ownership. He came to the U.S. at 22, a passionate, idealistic student who had gotten in trouble with Turkish authorities for writing articles sympathetic to the Kurdish rights movement. And much of that growth occurred before the company took on any outside capital, keeping Ulukaya the sole owner and, on paper at least, an unlikely billionaire. Today, 70% of Chobani employees are American born, 30% are immigrants and refugees.

Hamdi Ulukaya built the best-selling yogurt brand in the U.S. after coming here 23 years ago. Must be applied at the time of sign up and applies to first month only.

He started by buying a Kraft Foods yogurt plant in central New York state with a loan from the Small Business Administration in 2005. Ulukaya and Chobani took the lead, enlisting a lobbying firm, Cornerstone Government, and the National Yogurt Association to help them through the technicalities. The real estate agent said the 85-year-old factory was owned by Kraft Foods which had decided to get out of the yogurt business. Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting. Refugee advocate Hamdi Ulukaya is also on the boards of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York – while still being a Turkish citizen – and has been named Eminent Advocate for the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR). Steve Kroft: Did you speak any English when you came? And we’ll provide transportation. The first order of Chobani yogurt –150 cases-- was delivered to a kosher grocery store on Long Island in October of 2007…no one knew if there would be another. Steve Kroft: You want to make Dannon yogurt and Yoplait suffer? I have nearly three decades experience with Employee Stock Ownership Plans, and have. They would register when they come back. You don’t really know what you’re gonna do or where you’re gonna go.

It represents peace. Worker-owners can be better counted on to rise to those challenges, I’m quite certain. It is something that belongs to them that I recognize. Chobani quickly surpassed $1 billion in sales. Steve Kroft: How did you manage to get out? Verit, through its expertise in ESOP tax treatment and its financial expertise, helps founder/owners structure liquidity transactions and exit strategies that preserve and enhance their business legacy. As Chobani’s owner began spending cash on lobbying and hobnobbing with the globalist smart set, he garnered. More established yogurt companies countered with their own Greek yogurt offerings, however, taking back some market share. The situation has cooled somewhat and Hamdi enjoys the full support of Idaho’s very popular and very conservative Governor Butch Otter. Ulukaya’s fearless risk-taking and astute gauging of consumer tastes upended the U.S. yogurt market in recent years, with consumers stampeding away from blander products to the tangy Greek variety. What I mean is you cannot be in the world of business-- when you don’t have this consciousness of winning. He’s also enlisted the support of major U.S. corporations in the cause and pledged to give most of his fortune to charity. effusive praise from the former President: “It’s an astonishing story … it’s an amazing story … it’s breathtaking,” gushed former President, Ulukaya has made a number of appearances at CGI, including a one-on-one with Bill Clinton in 2015 where. Chobani is the main supplier of Greek yogurt for the federal school system, and Ulukaya had no problem greasing the wheels to make that happen, as t, With encouragement from (New York Senators) Schumer and Gellibrand, Ulukaya and other New York Greek yogurt players entered the Washington fray in 2012. .

Kroft delivered his first report for 60 Minutes in 1989.

He was hauled in for questioning and decided it might be a good idea to leave. For those who think you can’t buy that kind of advertising, it seems that perhaps you can, after all.

There he found the last employees of the last plant in the area closing it down. Chobani is the main supplier of Greek yogurt for the federal school system, and Ulukaya had no problem greasing the wheels to make that happen, as the Albany Times Union reported last year: With encouragement from (New York Senators) Schumer and Gellibrand, Ulukaya and other New York Greek yogurt players entered the Washington fray in 2012. Hamdi says he had no idea that things would turn out the way they have when he came to America 23 years ago and bought that shuttered yogurt factory in upstate New York.

It’s allowed Hamdi to hire fellow immigrants and refugees, not instead of American workers but alongside them. It took him a year to find his footing in upstate New York where he spent the next decade finishing his studies, working on a dairy farm and starting a modest feta cheese business here one day he spotted an ad. Hamdi Ulukaya: Of course, I do. Ulukaya has turned down offers to acquire all or a controlling stake in the company. Hamdi Ulukaya, founder of Chobani, describes at the Inc. 5000 Conference how he put everything on the line to land his first big deal. Many people first heard about the Twin Falls refugee resettlement program when a five-year-old girl was raped at the hands of three refugee boys. There was small, small picture of various per-- parts of the plant. In January 2016, Ulukaya used oligarchy buzzwords to say he founded the, In September 2015, The Tent Foundation released a publication with Clinton campaign Chairman John Podesta’s Center for American Progress titled, In May 2015, Chobani’s owner joined forces with the, a recent story by reporter Michael Patrick Leahy points ou, The daily paper, which operates as, in effect, a local monopoly in the small southern Idaho city at the center of a sexual assault of a 5 -year-old American-born girl involving three Muslim refugee boys, is owned by Lee Enterprises, which received a, Though both loans appear to have been paid back, Berkshire Hathaway had a, and has been named Eminent Advocate for the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR). I mean, what can you do about that?

We met two of them in Twin Falls, sisters, and agreed not to use their names or disclose the Middle Eastern country they fled because they fear reprisals from the human traffickers that separated them from their family then abandoned them as young girls on the street corner in Eastern Europe. I write about entrepreneurs' exit strategies, ESOPs and M&A. In January 2016, the BBC reported that Ulukaya made an appearance at the World Economic Forum in Davos, where he called on more businesses to begin taking in refugees as workers, stating that it is “mind-blowing” how little firms are doing to economically integrate refugees. Bank of America Hamdi Ulukaya: Two hundred jobs was gone. His family raised goats and sheep and made cheese and yogurt in a small Kurdish village in Eastern Turkey. Betsey remembers one where Hamdi offered this toast. In 2005, Hamdi took a loan from the Small Business Administration, bought an old yogurt plant, and brought a small group of passionate individuals together to make the real, wholesome yogurt that he remembered from his childhood. Who is Hamdi Ulukaya? I mean, I-- you figure for Kraft to shut it down, who the hell is this guy that he’s gonna open up and make it right, make it going? as well as Idaho’s Republican Governor “Butch” Otter. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. Hamdi spent most of his time in the plant, except to grab two meals a day at the local pizzeria owned by another immigrant Frank Baio and his wife Betsey. There were some initial growing pains: a shipment had to be recalled because of mold contamination and early production delays necessitated an emergency loan. Hamdi Ulukaya: I remember like yesterday. Seeing that yogurt wasn’t as natural and nutritious as it was at home, Ulukaya created his own recipe and has since made a fortune from the nation’s Greek yogurt craze. And it meant a lot to me because, you know, I come from a life with shepherds and mountains and all that stuff. Rich Lake: Your whole livelihood’s gone.

Hamdi Ulukaya: Hey brother, how you doing? Just kidding aside. Hamdi Ulukaya: It’s not a gift.

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