I was born in Santiago, Chile in 1962. My father was a Chilean Naval Officer who graduated from the Chilean Naval Academy. After a rewarding career in the Chilean Navy, my father retired (at age 36) and attended the engineering program at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. With limited English proficiency and laboring as a janitor, he obtained his mechanical engineering degree in three years, accepted a job with Ford Motor Company, applied for his “green card”, and summoned my mother and me and my brother and two sisters to the United States. I was barely five years old. None of us spoke any English and after a brief stint in Lexington, we moved to Louisville, Kentucky. I remember being dragged, kicking and screaming, into my first day of kindergarten class. I couldn’t understand a word anyone was speaking and all the kids were so mean. I eventually learned English, as all small children immersed in a new language environment do, but the teasing by my classmates about my country of origin never ceased. We became United States Citizens just before Ford transferred my father to Europe, first Germany (West Germany at the time), then Spain, where I attended a boarding school on the island of Mallorca. It was in Europe, with such a diverse student population from all over the world, that I first realized that the teasing and hateful comments by other children was not the standard.
I returned to the United States to finish high school in Michigan, attended Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Michigan, where I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Biological Science, and, like my father before me and many of my male progenitors going back to the 1700's, I accepted a commission as an officer in the United States Navy. I was the first in the history of the Gonzalez family (and so far the only one) to serve in the United States Navy.
I earned my Wings of Gold at the fabled Aviation Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, Florida (on which the Richard Gere movie "Officer and a Gentleman" was based) and served as a Naval Flight Officer, flying aboard the S-3B Viking, a carrier based twin engine jet used primarily for anti-submarine warfare. After seven years of active duty and multiple deployments at sea, I applied for release from active duty and accepted a position as a Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service. While with the Secret Service, I was stationed in Miami, Florida but traveled around the country protecting foreign heads of state as well as Presidents Bush (41) and Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and Dan Quayle along with a regular caseload of criminal investigations involving counterfeit, treasury check forgery, and credit card fraud. Although the Secret Service was a wonderful experience, law enforcement was not for me and I aspired for something more. I resigned from the Secret Service and attended law school at Wayne State University School of Law in Detroit, Michigan, while at the same time drilling in the Naval Reserves as an Intelligence Officer. I graduated from law school in 1996 and again left the Navy (this time for good) after obtaining my final rank of Lt. Commander (O-4).
Since moving to Tennessee in 1997, I have concentrated my practice in federal criminal defense, employment discrimination, and cases dealing with civil rights or Constitutional issues. While not working, I enjoy riding my horses over fences and spending time with my best friend and wife, Denise, and my two dogs, Leo and Zuki.