Colleague in Need – Atanas Entchev facing deportation

Update: The GIS community has come out in support of Atanas and his family. Calls for letters of support have spread across Twitter and has been picked up by several other blogs:

Despite this, the Entchev’s future in the US remains uncertain. If you have written a letter of support, thank you. Please write one if you are able.

Atanas Entchev, a familiar face to many on Twitter and throughout the GIS circles in the Northeast is currently facing deportation to Bulgaria. After emigrating here with his family over twenty years ago to escape political persecution, the US Government is now planning to deport the Entchevs. Atanas, his wife and his two children have been living in Central New Jersey and integrated into the local community. He has been involved with GIS in New Jersey for years, having worked in government at the Department of Environmental Protection and at several firms before starting Entchev GIS Architects back in 2005.

Last week, I received an email from Mayia, his wife, asking for letters of support as he is facing deportation. Mayia’s email is as follows:

I am writing you on behalf of my husband, Atanas Entchev, and our family. As you may know, Atanas and I emigrated to the U.S. from Bulgaria 20 years ago. Today, our immigration case is at a crossroads, and it is pertinent that we obtain letters of recommendation from the community. I am reaching out to you because you have been a colleague, client, or valued business contact of Atanas’. I am hoping you may be able to write a letter of recommendation for him. Time is of the essence, and it it crucial that we gather these letters as soon as possible, by today would be best.

If you are willing and able to write a letter of recommendation, your contribution will be invaluable to our case, and would be greatly appreciated by our family.
Please include your name, signature, address and phone number

Best would be if you can email the letters to: &
If not possible please fax to (201) 262-7640.

If you would like to get in touch with me, my contact information is listed below.

Thank you very much in advance, you help is greatly appreciated by our family.

Mayia Entcheva

I have known Atanas for several years now and I consider him a friend. While I knew he was not originally from here, I never thought of him as an immigrant. He is – in my mind – a fellow US citizen and outstanding professional colleague. He’s not a Bulgarian; he’s a New Jerseyan -  which is far different from what you see on TV.

If you have worked with Atanas, please take a few minutes to write a letter stating your support. These letters will be incredibly helpful to him and his family. Please send any letters to the email addresses or fax number above. If using email and if you have access to a scanner, they should be signed with your signature. I’m including below my letter of support for you to use as a guide.

To whom it may concern:

I am writing this letter of support on behalf of Atanas Entchev and his family. I have known Atanas for five years and have worked with him on a series of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) projects within the New Jersey. These projects have included consulting work for private firms and local governments, as well as community engagement projects that work to involve and engage individuals in our profession. Atanas is well respected within the geospatial community within New Jersey and nationally, through his involvement on the Web and through social media and his work with local and regional conferences. Atanas is a knowledgeable, personable and approachable, always available for collaboration on projects. He has built his own GIS consulting firm out of his own sweat and technical knowledge into an established brand.

I have also worked with his daughter, Christina, on a few projects related to local political causes and social outreach in Middlesex County. The entire Entchev family is a warm, welcoming group and I would be glad to call them my neighbors. I hold Atanas and his family in high regard and would be more than welcome to answer any other questions you may have.

John Reiser

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9 Responses to Colleague in Need – Atanas Entchev facing deportation

  1. Martin says:

    He stopped tweeting and you got an email from his wife. So I assume the INS locked him up in a deportation camp (usually a contracted county jail)? What’s wrong with this country? They deported @lastools as well. Homeland security does not seem to like geo-spatial specialists?

  2. Pingback: Spatially Adjusted » Blog Archive » Stand Up for Atanas Entchev

  3. Pingback: Support Atanas Entchev « geoMusings

  4. Tom says:

    Just sent to his wife;

    To whom it may concern;

    I am writing this as a very personal recommendation/referral for Mr. Entchev as he pursues his quest for full US Citizenship. After personally knowing and several business engagements, over past 6 years, it is with great pride and admiration that I strongly encourage all interested parties to pave the way for such a fine citizen to be accepted and otherwise allowed to continue his partially filled dream of owning a business and fulfilling his American dream. Mr. Entchev has not placed any burden on society, solicited handouts or focused on anything other than being a productive member of our Capitalistic society.

    Please accept this endorsement for Mr. Entchev to complete the mission he started in America and assist in making America the true (and desired) melting pot of all nationalities.

    Thank you, Tom

  5. Pingback: Help Support Geospatial Professional Atanas Entchev | GIS Lounge

  6. Michael Gurley says:

    Just sent the following to Mayia. I am so distressed to learn about my friend this way. Are there no other details?


    To Whom it May Concern,

    I have know Mr. Entchev since 1996, when I interviewed with him for my first professional Geographic Information Systems (GIS) position at Owen, Little & Associates in Beachwood, NJ. In my three years there, Atanas and I grew to be more than professional colleagues. When I moved on to seek employment elsewhere, I considered him one of my closest friends; a relationship that has been maintained and deepened without interruption in the subsequent eleven years. I am proud to consider Atanas my mentor, colleague, and confidante; but must of all, a true friend.

    Professionally, I have absolutely no hesitation in saying that Atanas always acted in a manner that spoke to his integrity and his desire that his clients received service and a product that he would never be ashamed to attach his name to. We had numerous conversations about his self-built business of Entchev GIS Architects in which he would occasionally express frustration that, in this economic climate, the competition would probably receive more contracts than he. Despite this frustration, the line that Atanas refused to cross was the one where he lowered his professional standards or tried to sell a service that he did not personally believe was in the client’s best interest. If all business was conducted under the model that Atanas adhered to, it would both invigorate and restore a higher level of confidence in the professional consulting sector.

    Atanas is one of the most thoughtful individuals that I have ever met. This is not to say he is an unrealistic, unassuming dreamer. He is thoughtful in the sense that he exudes a desire to act in an informed manner. He is a great collector of ideas and information…all with an eye to how he might improve himself personally, socially, intellectually, and professionally. Atanas’ goals never terminated in introspective self-improvement, however. I know firsthand that Atanas is most satisfied when sharing of himself and interacting with his wide circle of friends, family, and colleagues. There is a very good reason why Atanas is one of the most respected persons in the Mid-Atlantic GIS community. He did not gain a name for himself, as have some individuals, by being the most self-promoting; but rather because of his willingness to interact/collaborate with anyone in nothing but the most courteous, warm, and professional level.

    Some of my most satisfying times have been spent with Atanas, over a cup of coffee (which he would ALWAYS insist on paying for) discussing GIS, technology, films, music, art, tennis, relationships, history, literature, or just relating humorous moments in our own lives.

    I have NO hesitation in saying that Atanas Entchev is the model of what a United States citizen should be; industrious, informed, ethical, self-reliant, providing, and trustworthy.

    I would be more than happy to discuss any of this in further detail, should you so desire.


    Michael Rottler-Gurley

  7. Michael Gurley says:

    Just as a follow-up…Mayia says she has been advised that “Our lawyer told me that the Court may not take in consideration letters that are not signed.” So, if you are writing letters of recommendation, it is best to send printed/signed/scanned PDFs to the emails that John Reiser has provided above. (copied below)

    Best would be if you can email the letters to: &
    If not possible please fax to (201) 262-7640.

  8. Bill Dollins says:

    Thank you, Michael Gurley, for that extra information. I e-mailed off a signed, scanned letter this morning.

    Thank you, John, for bringing this to light. I had noticed that Atanas had gone silent on all social media around October 5th and was beginning to wonder.


  9. Pingback: Have a Good Weekend and Remember Atanas « geoMusings

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