Mr. Tashkovich earned his B.A. in 1987 from Cornell University’s College of Arts & Sciences and his M.B.A. in 1991 from Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School of Management. Until he was elected Minister, for a period of twenty three years, he was heavily involved with Cornell University affairs. He was the youngest member ever of the Administrative Board of the Cornell University Council in 1999-2001. In addition to a native command of English, Mr. Tashkovich has proficiency in French, and has studied Latin, Spanish, Macedonian, Bulgarian, and Business Japanese at the university level. In 2004, he completed a five year term membership on the Council on Foreign Relations. He is a 36 year member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), a charter member of the Internet Society, and a citizen of the United States of America.
Minister Tashkovich completed a two year mandate (in late July of 2008) as the Minister for Foreign Investment in the Republic of Macedonia. The Government of which he was a part was elected on a strong anti-corruption and pro-business background in July 2006. Minister Tashkovich traveled to forty countries around the world convincing international firms to consider basing their European manufacturing, assembly, and back office operations in the Republic of Macedonia. He succeeded in attracting nearly one billion Euros of new foreign direct investment and creating over 1,200 new jobs as a result of his efforts.
Currently, Minister Tashkovich serves as a Registered Representative for AlphaSource Capital Securities LLC in New York where he attracts qualified and accredited investors into hedge funds and other alternative investments. He served for eleven years as a founding Trustee of the American Research Center in Sofia, Bulgaria; an Advisory Board member of three organizations: LDJ Capital of New York, NY; Stratex Oil & Gas in New York, NY; and the United Macedonian Diaspora in Washington, D.C. In addition, he serves as a member of the Bretton Woods Committee and of its International Council; a founding member of the U.S.-Macedonian Business Council. Previously, he completed a term on the University Council of the American University in Bulgaria, as a volunteer adjunct program manager of The Sunshine Lady Foundation run by the older sister of Warren Buffett, and as the Secretary/Treasurer of the New York Business Schools Club (a club of alumni business school clubs).
Before starting his term as Minister, Mr. Tashkovich was the Executive Vice President for Government & Media Relations for AMBO LLC (the Albanian-Macedonian-Bulgarian Oil Corporation) on the $1.75 billion Trans-Balkan Oil Pipeline project, which will connect the Black Sea with the Adriatic Sea and cross the Republics of Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Albania. In this capacity, he met regularly with Presidents, Prime Ministers, and their Ministers, Ambassadors, and Advisers, has negotiated agreements between and among the three countries, marketed the project concept to oil companies, financiers, governments, international financial institutions, and the media; and maintained an oil & gas-related time-sensitive news distribution service covering ten countries in the former Soviet Union, Turkey, and the Balkans. He began working for AMBO LLC in mid-1994 and, since late 2008, serves on its Board of Directors.
Additionally, between 2001 and 2006, Mr. Tashkovich served as a research consultant to First Data Corporation in the area of money laundering and terrorism finance; to the Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences in the area of improving Ph.D. admissions recruitment plans for underrepresented minority and international students; to Coyle Hospitality Group as a quality assurance inspector of hotels, bars, and restaurants; and to Z-Card North America and ED.SEILER Pianofortefabrik GmbH & Co., KG of Kitzingen, Germany on business development activities in North America.
In 2002, he was selected as a semi-finalist in the first annual Reinhard Mohn Fellowship competition for social entrepreneurs sponsored by Bertelsmann AG. And in 2004, Mr. Tashkovich was named a delegate to the U.S.-Japan Foundation’s Leadership Program.
Mr. Tashkovich is an official international elections observer for the OSCE/ODIHR on secondment from the U.S. State Department. He has completed eight missions so far: Armenia Presidential Elections (both rounds, February 2003); Kazakhstan Parliamentary Elections (September 2004); Azerbaijan Presidential Elections (October 2008); the General Elections of Bosnia-Hercegovina (October 2010); the Georgian Parliamentary Elections (October 2012); the Kazakhstan Parliamentary Elections (March 2016); and the Belarus Parliamentary Elections (September 2016).
Beginning in March 1992, following upon the leadership first provided by his grandfather and namesake (who was both a Senator and the leader of the Democratic Agrarian party in the Republic of Macedonia between 1937 and 1946), Mr. Tashkovich assisted the administration of President Kiro Gligorov (and from late 1999, the subsequent administration of President Boris Trajkovski) in the area of economic development by forging relationships with other countries, multinational institutions, and corporations.
In this role, he has served as either a member or a guest of the delegations from Macedonia to the Peace Conference on Yugoslavia (London, August 1992); to the Annual Meeting of the World Bank/IMF (Washington, D.C., September 1992); to the Annual Meetings of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (London, April 1993; St. Petersburg, April 1994; and London, April 1995); and to the White House Conference on Trade and Investment in Central and Eastern Europe (Cleveland, January 1995). He served as Chief of the Advance Team for President Trajkovski’s 23-member delegation to the United Nations’ Financing for Development Conference (Monterrey, Mexico, March 2002).
As part of Macedonia’s drive to gain acceptance in the international community, Mr. Tashkovich successfully forged diplomatic relations in the Summer of 1993 between Macedonia and Malta; in November of 1993, between Macedonia and Angola; in April of 1994 between Macedonia and Uzbekistan; and again in 2001 between Macedonia and Georgia.
In the 1990s, Mr. Tashkovich periodically worked with nine of the largest companies in Macedonia (from the aerospace, confectionary, construction, metal, hotel, pharmaceutical, retail, insurance, and telecommunications sectors) to assist their transition to a market economy by attracting potential investors and business partners. In July 1992, he introduced AT&T to the country and, after a year of negotiations, a contract was signed with the state-owned PTT (Post Office, Telephone, and Telegraph).
In September 1993, he opened the Macedonian market for Plexus Medical, Inc. of San Francisco and sold reconditioned medical equipment and supplies from American hospitals and clinics which had been forced to rationalize their new role in the American health care system. In 1994, he achieved six figure sales and was named the company’s most successful salesman.
From December 1993 through May 1995, Mr. Tashkovich served as the exclusive importer of the international edition of Time magazine to Macedonia which was the first English-language publication in the country. His negotiations with the publisher permitted him to set the cover price far below the European sales price in the interests of promoting democracy and encouraging English language literacy. Mr. Tashkovich also supplied over 140 different magazines requested by the United States Battalion of UNPROFOR (the United Nations PROtection FORce) stationed in Macedonia.
In July 1998, Mr. Tashkovich opened Western Union’s money transfer service in Macedonia. In the first six months of operations, the number of transactions grew by 48% month-on-month. By the third anniversary, the service had moved over USD $60 million. The service was extraordinarily beneficial for Kosovars fleeing the NATO bombing in Spring 1999 as well as for the United Nations peacekeeping forces who needed to send their salaries home.
To meet the need of direct air links to the West, Mr. Tashkovich began lobbying British Airways in 1994 to serve Macedonia. He provided critical support which permitted the airline to begin, on schedule, the first nonstop service between Skopje and London Gatwick in October 1999. Within just six months, this route quickly became British Airways’ most profitable inter-European route.
Before his work in the Balkans, Mr. Tashkovich was active in the nascent field of international data communications. While studying at Cornell (1983-1987), he lectured internationally in the field of computer networking. During his junior year, he worked full-time at the National Science Foundation’s Office of Advanced Scientific Computing as part of a team which provided free networked supercomputing resources to university professors around the country and established the first national backbone network (NSFnet) into which the ARPAnet was later folded. Subsequently, he was appointed as a U.S. delegate to the EARN (European Academic & Research Network) Technical Committee for a two year term. In August 1987, he began work for the former Digital Equipment Corporation’s European Technical Center as a Senior Software Engineer in the French Riviera and Geneva on projects aiding the transition of EARN from commercial funding to self-sufficiency.
In the second half of 1989, Mr. Tashkovich consulted for the World Economic Forum (in Geneva, Switzerland) on their World Electronic Community (WELCOM) project, which was designed to allow senior executives of member companies worldwide access to each other through a custom-designed executive information system whose development he supervised. He also broadened the scope of the World Energy Industry Forum.
In May 1991, he co-organized and co-chaired a multi-session symposium entitled “Global Initiatives in High-Performance Computing and Networking” featuring Albert Gore, Jr., the former Vice President of the United States, for the Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He had previously set a record at the AAAS 1986 Annual Meeting in Philadelphia by being the first non-Ph.D. in its long history to be permitted to organize and chair a session. That session was entitled “The Status of the NSF Supercomputer Initiative.”
In 1992, he completed a substantial project for the Office of Technology Assessment (the former research branch of the United States Congress) entitled “The Use of International Telecommunications Networks in the Delivery of Transportation and Travel-Related Services” as part of its study on International Telecommunications Networks and U.S.-European Trade-in-Services which was jointly commissioned by the Senate Committee on Finance and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. In addition, he served as a Quality Assurance Inspector for a major U.S. airline during most of that year.
In 1992 and 1993, Mr. Tashkovich worked for the Mediterranean Group of Companies, a Middle Eastern company that specializes in large-scale telecommunications projects. While there, he was assigned to the East West Resources Corporation as Vice President of Corporate Strategy and Development, where he was engaged in the multi-billion dollar strategic overhaul of MGTS, the Moscow Local Telephone Company and the creation of MTS (Mobile TeleSystems PJSC). He co-authored the corporate strategy for the client and prepared a comprehensive market research survey on the numerous telecommunications projects in Moscow. The corporate strategy document assessed the current situation (including system constraints), addressed the possibility of private joint ventures, predicted the demand for international services and the expected market penetration over the next 10 years, looked at opportunities in the international wireless market, calculated the required capital in investments, analyzed the strategic options available, and reviewed the political and commercial risks associated with the project. He also provided input to the real estate development of the massive Moscow International Business Center project and the creation of a new Moscow-based airline.
In Spring 1994, Mr. Tashkovich completed a consulting assignment for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in Tashkent, Uzbekistan where he conducted demand assessment interviews for the feasibility of a digital overlay telecommunications network.