Andrew Delgado knows life is full of challenges but he’s not about to complain about them. “When I remember what my parents did for me, it doesn’t seem so hard what I do.”

The son of immigrants (his mother is from Cuba and his father is of Italian ancestry), Delgado owns a highly successful small business. He’s a retired policeman who’s heavily involved with youth sports, so much so he created Marco Island’s baseball league because he strongly believes “youth is our future.”

Delgado also is a devoted father and husband who has learned how to balance his time to achieve his dreams.

While still working as a police officer on Marco, Delgado wasn’t happy with real estate services on the island, so he decided to join the industry, first as investor and then as realtor himself.

Later on, he experienced displeasure with the local construction trade, so he branched into that field. As a result, Andrew Hunter Homes, named for his sons, was founded three years ago with the purpose of building luxurious yet affordable homes. “Our philosophy is to offer a smaller product of higher quality. Instead of building houses of 5,000 square feet, we prefer to build well-detailed houses of 2,000 to 3,000 square feet.”

In the last 18 months the company has built 11 houses, a large number considering the size of Marco Island, he says. “Normally a constructor builds between two and three in a year, and we’re doing eight.”

The key to the company’s success? A diverse work team, Delgado says. He is Cuban-Italian; his wife, Ivette Todd, “the heart of the business,” is from Puerto Rico; his partner Mike Digioia is Italian; an associated painting company is owned by a Mexican, Óscar Hernández, “an excellent painter, an artist”; the tile specialist is from Romania, Cristian Sunut; the floor supplier is Turkish, Joseph Akkoc; the electrician is from Cuba, Bonito Quintanilla; and their biggest supplier (of concrete, framing, etc.) is Mexican too, Vicente Camacho.

“It’s very funny because when we have a meeting everybody has a weird accent, but we all feel good working together,” Delgado says. “We thought communication was going to be difficult, but it hasn’t. It is possible to work together although our different roots, nationalities and businesses. It can be done.”

The dream has just begun but it will go much further, Delgado says. “We want to build 100 to 200 beautiful and affordable houses for teachers, nurses, firemen, policemen, because they deserve it.”