Liz A. Perez-Lavin, president and partner at Fort Myers-based Service Contracting Solutions, believes that challenges are opportunities to grow and learn.

“Being an immigrant was definitely a challenge. I had to learn a second language and learn a whole other culture,” says Perez-Lavin, who arrived in the U.S. from Chile at 9 years old. “Those experiences helped shaped my confidence and my work ethic.”

At 18, Perez-Lavin had become a mother while working and attending school full-time—she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU).

Her nominator watched as Perez-Lavin grew from a clerk at a painting company while she was in high school to the president and majority owner of the company that employees more than 250 employees. “At that time [we met] she told me that someday she was going to buy the company,” her nominator says.

Service Contracting Solutions provides painting and other surface-coating services for commercial building all around the state.

Perez-Lavin is a huge Yankees and FGCU fan. She has raised two daughters with her husband, Harvey Hernandez. She enjoys going to the beach, drawing, reading, swimming and running, and is a huge New York Yankees and FGCU fan.