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Men of Dominican descent have always possessed the capacity to chart successful paths. The truth is many men of Dominican lineage have soared to prosperous heights – often quietly and devoid of fanfare – in sectors or occupations few dare to travel. In celebration of the Dominican Republic’s Independence Day, we salute five Dominican men you need to know.

Thomas Edward Perez

United States Secretary of Labor

What’s the alternative when your dreams of playing professional baseball evaporate as quickly as your breath in cold weather? Become the nation’s 26th Secretary of Labor. Nominated by President Obama, Secretary Perez, the son of first-generation Dominican immigrants who was born in frigid Buffalo, NY, has a list of educational and professional credentials that rival the most intelligent brain trusts in Washington, DC. A graduate of Brown (undergraduate) and Harvard (Schools of Law and Government), Perez is directly accountable for fostering, promoting and executing national programs that benefit wage earners and job seekers as well as improve working conditions and assuring work-related benefits and rights. All of this while overseeing 28 agencies, 17,000 employees and nearly $100 billion dollars. Not without his critics and professional setbacks throughout his career, Perez is the first Dominican-American to hold a presidential cabinet post and joins only a handful of Latinos to hold such a distinction.

Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice Thomas Perez speaks during a news conference in Phoenix

Image credit- Joshua Lott/Reuters/Corbis

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