Most people are lucky to work with one of their family members, let alone five. But for Amir Gazibara, 23 — whether he liked it or not — he has worked side by side with three brothers and his mom and dad for his entire seven-year career at Polar Bottle.
Now, however, his family and the rest of the Polar Bottle team, say good-bye to Amir as he moves to a new career as a financial analyst for a media company in Denver, Colorado.
Amir graduated in 2011 from the University of Colorado with a degree in economics. He worked his way through school working in Polar Bottle’s production department, where he started in 2005. “I’m excited but also anxious,” Amir said of starting his new job. “I’m ready to put my degree to good use.”
Amir was born in Bosnia and came to the United States with his family in 1995.The family immigrated to the United States to escape war in Bosnia that ensued following the breakup of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s.
His brother, Nechko started at Polar Bottle in 1995 — about a year after the company was founded and only a month after the family moved to the United States. Nechko was Polar Bottle’s first employee when the company was still operating out of the garage of owners Judy Amabile and Robert Heiberger. Soon, Nechko recruited the rest of his family to the company, eventually including his youngest brother Amir. Along with Nechko, Amir worked alongside his older brothers Amel and Adnan, as well as his mother Muharema and father Asim.“It’s nice to have the family nearby,” Amir said of working with his parents and brothers. “You get to grow as a group.”
Although other family members have attended various secondary education programs, Amir is the first member of the Gazibara family to earn a bachelor’s degree and it was a family effort to put him through school.“They’re excited and happy for me,” Amir said of his family’s support throughout his college career and moving forward in his new job.“They’re also a little sad that I won’t be working with them,” he added.
Since moving to the United States, Amir has only returned to Bosnia once, during a month-long trip in 2006. He says the trip reminded him how beautiful Bosnia is, a fact that had been previously clouded by memories of violence from the years of war the family experienced before deciding to move to the United States. “I just remembered when the war started and then having to leave,” Amir said. “They were not very good memories.”
Amir expects his life would be very different if the family had stayed in Bosnia. Landing his dream job in the financial industry, for example, he says might have remained just a dream. Now, however, Amir has his sights set on moving his way up in his new company and continuing his education. One day he says he hoped to earn a master’s degree. His Bosnian heritage and traditions, however, Amir says will stay with him forever. Though their days working side by side might be over, moving too far away from his family — for example — Amir says is out of the question. “Part of the Bosnian culture is staying with your family,” he said, explaining that his family will always remain an important part of his life.
His brother Nechko agrees. “Over the years we have watched you grow from a boy to a man,” Nechko said. “Remember you always have support from all of us.”