By M.V. Greene
Farad Ali has been engaged with numerous high-level associations during his professional and business career from his base in Durham, North Carolina.
One of his most recent engagements — acquiring a majority stake in a supply-chain solutions company in March 2020 — affords him an extra opportunity for personal satisfaction.
Ali purchased majority control of Plano, Texas-based Asociar LLC from fellow diverse enterprise entrepreneur and Latina owner Beatriz “Betty” Manetta of Argent Associates Inc. She launched Asociar in 2012 as a joint venture with Fujitsu Network Communications Inc. Ali is now Asociar’s president and CEO.
Asociar’s services include information technology solutions for clients; third-party value-added reselling of software, hardware and other products and services; equipment installation; in- building design; and data center facilitation — all supported by a diverse team of engineers and technologists.
Ali’s many engagements in business, the public sector and with nongovernmental organizations notwithstanding, he said his ascension to the leadership of Asociar positions him with an entity with “scale and size” which allows him to pursue even greater goals.
He has worked more than 30 years as an entrepreneur, business executive, corporate banking officer, consultant, community volunteer and elected official.
Ali has served as a vice president with National Minority Supplier Development Council Inc., interim president and CEO of the Carolinas-Virginia Minority Supplier Development Council, president and CEO of the North Carolina Institute of Minority Economic Development — now National Institute of Minority Economic Development, chair of the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority, project director of the U.S. Department of Commerce North Carolina Minority Business Development Center and a member of the Durham City Council.
A wonderful story
With Asociar, he said his focus as a minority-business owner is to build a business that will offer meaningful opportunities for employment and community engagement with people like him.
“We look to hire people who are also diverse,” Ali said.
Asociar also works closely on diversity entrepreneurship and business development with organizations that include U.S. Black Chambers Inc., United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Planet Mogul, a company he operates with his wife, Rohena Miller. Its mission is to diversify entrepreneurial and innovation pipelines by empowering students to achieve for themselves, their families and communities.
Ali calls the transition of his majority control of the company from Manetta a “wonderful story,” despite the fact that the transaction occurred during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. He said Manetta has remained in Asociar’s management as chief operating officer, helping to smooth over the change.
“The challenges were magnified during COVID but, at the same time, it allowed us to build skillsets to be able to grow business,” he said. “Every day you have to pivot to make sure you can meet the desires and needs of your customers and meet the desires and needs of the people within your organization. We had to do exaggerated pivoting during the pandemic.”
Ali said what makes Asociar’s story special is that it brought together two diverse entrepreneurs — Manetta and him.
“It is really a great story about how we can merge ideas, and Black and brown business owners can come together and build something really special,” he said. “It is a story about how two minority groups can come together and build a business.”
Ali said the transition has been good so far, with revenue increasing by 30% and the firm attracting major new clients, while bringing in additional management and technical advisers to support its work.
To learn more about Asociar, visit Asociar1.com.
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About Farad Ali
Hometown: Brooklyn, New York
First job: Working as a receptionist for my mother’s business
Hobbies: Traveling and listening to various music genres
Last business book read: “Winning with Customers: A Playbook for B2B” by D. Keith Pigues and Jerry D. Alderman
Best business advice received and from whom: Treat everyone with dignity and respect — from my parents
What drives your leadership philosophy: Trusting that relationships matter to achieve any success
Farad Ali Asociar LLC Beatriz “Betty” Manetta Argent Associates Inc. information technology information technology solutions third-party value-added reselling of software hardware equipment installation data center facilitation National Minority Supplier Development Council Inc. Carolinas-Virginia Minority Supplier Development Council North Carolina Institute of Minority Economic Development National Institute of Minority Economic Development Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority U.S. Department of Commerce North Carolina Minority Business Development Center Durham City Council U.S. Black Chambers Inc. United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Planet Mogul Rohena Miller