Fil Filipov was born in Plovdiv in 1946. He hadn’t yet turned 17 when he fled communist Bulgaria. He shares: “There I saw a film about climbing the social ladder, “Room at the Top” … and I started dreaming. I wanted to have such an extravagant life, with fancy cars and pretty women … We fled to Greece. They took us to a refugee camp. From Greece, we left for the USA.” In 1965 Fil arrived in Chicago. He started working as a dishwasher, moved furniture, and did other odd jobs. In 1993 he became president of Terex Cranes, and he was very successful as a manager. In 2004 he started his own business. Today, his companies operate in the USA, Germany, France, China, Mexico, and Bulgaria, and he has achieved a lot more in his professional and personal life.
Katia Melville (née Alexandrova) was born in 1940 in Rousse, Bulgaria. Her father was an officer in the army before 1944, and he continued to work for the army after the communists took over. Her mother was a descendant of Macedonian refugees. Katia earned a higher degree in Economics. Before her graduation, she worked on the production line of a local Rousse factory, “Petar Karaminchev”. After graduating in 1984, she became a manager of the Stock Market in Northern Bulgaria. After both of her children moved to the USA in the early 1990s, Katia didn’t wait long before emigrating in 1995. She joined her sons in San Francisco, California. Later on Katia married her second husband, Heyward Melville, and they now live in Bulgaria temporarily and travel frequently.