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San Rafael man’s journey takes him from immigrant laborer to business owner to being named honorary Consul to Tanzania

San Rafael |

Ahmed Issa’s charismatic personalityand tireless work ethic helped him charter a career that began in 1988, when he left his homeland in Tanzania in search of better opportunities in California. He never imagined those opportunities would take him from being an hourly worker to owning a business and being invited to meetings with US and Tanzanian diplomats.


At 5 p.m., Sept. 16, Issa will host President of the Republic of Tanzania H.E. Dr. Jakaya Kikwete to celebrate the ribbon cutting and opening of the Honorary Tanzanian Consulate office in San Rafael at 4322 Redwood Highway, where Issa operates his moving and storage business. Issa recently was named honorary Consul of Tanzania. While it’ a voluntary position, Issa hopes he can help pave the way for new opportunities between the US and his native home of Tanzania.

The event is more than opening the doors. It’s also is the unveiling of an advertising campaign that promotes Tanzania tourism and a presentation by Tanzanian government officials, who will discuss investment and business opportunities.


“Very recently, Tanzania has been considered by the US government and governments around the world as a prime location for new and growing businesses,” Issa said. “It’s freely elected, Democratic Government, has brought stability and growth to the region making it fertile ground for partnerships.”

In addition to the Tanzanian president and staff, state and local officials are expected to attend the event, as will representatives from the Embassy of the Republic of Tanzania located in Washington, D.C.


“It’s beyond my imagination,” Issa said of being named honorary consul. “That just tells you a lot about America, it really is the land of opportunity.”


When Issa arrived in the US 25 years ago, he spoke only a little English. He had worked for a man from Saudi Arabia who was impressed with Issa’s work ethic and his passion to learn. He encouraged Issa to move to the United States. Issa did just that. He enrolled in College of Marin where he studied business administration and English as a second language. While going to school, he landed a part-time job working in a warehouse for a moving company.


He continued to work up the ladder in the moving company, learned the business and in 1997, he bought his first moving van. He formalized his moving business in 2000, founding Ahmed’s Moving Express. Four years later, he bought an office and warehouse in The Vineyard in San Rafael, and later became an interstate agent for Wheaton World Wide Moving, the fourth largest moving company in the US. In 2012, he was named the Wheaton’s Top New Agent in the West. In addition to a fleet of moving trucks, Issa owns a 12,000-square-foot warehouse.


“Each step along his path, he was determined to keep pushing forward, to do better,” said Wheaton CEO Mark Kirschner. “He quickly went from owning one moving van and doing local moves to owning an entire fleet where he now offers moving services worldwide.”


Issa didn’t seek out the position. He met a former ambassador to the US, who helped introduce Issa to other diplomats, and recommended him as the only honorary consul to Tanzania on the West Coast.


Monday’s event will make it official with the opening of the Tanzanian Consulate.


Opening of Tanzanian Consulate

WHAT:  Ribbon-cutting ceremony of the Tanzanian Consulate in San Rafael and unveiling of advertising campaign promoting tourism in Tanzania.


WHEN:  5 p.m. Sept. 16


WHERE:  4322 Redwood Highway in San Rafael


WHO:  President of the Republic of Tanzania, H.E. Dr. Jakaya Kikwete, Honorary Consul Ahmed Issa, owner of Ahmed Moving Express in San Rafael, representatives of the Embassy to the Republic of Tanzania and state and local officials.


WHY:  In addition to the public celebration, Tanzanian government officials will meet with local government and business leaders about the opportunities for investment and business in Tanzania.

About Wheaton World Wide Moving

Wheaton Van Lines, Inc. is one of the world's most highly regarded providers of transportation services. Wheaton Van Lines now owns two household goods relocation brands, Wheaton World Wide Moving and Bekins Van Lines. With annual combined revenue in excess of $250 million, the van line is now the fourth largest household goods carrier. Headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind., The Wheaton and Bekins brands offer private and corporate domestic and international household goods relocation services as well as special commodities and logistic services. The United States Military also is one of the company’s largest customers. Wheaton Van Lines, Inc. is partner to approximately 370 Wheaton and Bekins agents nationwide. To learn more, visit www.wheatonworldwide.com or www.bekins.com