Majdi and Mohamad Daher, who started a technology services business 22 years ago in order to bring their parents and siblings to America in the aftermath of the Gulf War, have received the prestigious Ernst & Young Pacific Northwest Entrepreneurs of The Year Award.
Today, that technology services business, Denali Advanced Integration of Redmond, Wash., born out of the tragedy of war, is one of the most widely respected system integrators in the country. Ranked No. 91 on the CRN Solution Provider 500 list, Denali is now a $212 million company with 450 employees. The business provided the means for the two brothers to bring their parents and siblings to America in 1992.
“It was a true sense of joy not for myself, but more for my family overall and my brothers,” said Denali CEO Majdi Daher of the Ernst & Young award. “It is a validation and testament to my family sticking together.”
Majdi and his brother, Mohamad, who is chairman of the company, received the highly coveted award at a black-tie gala before family and friends last Friday night at the Hyatt Regency in Bellevue, Wash.
“Only in America can you come here and have absolutely nothing and build what we have built with Denali and the other businesses we have,” said Majdi, echoing his acceptance speech remarks. “Only in America. That is why this is the greatest country in the whole world. Thank God for the United States. There is no way we could have done this without this great country."
Denali Advanced Integration is not the only business started by the brothers. The family owns seven independent operating companies, all funded with sweat equity, that include real estate, manufacturing, banking and even a company that helps international students get an education in the U.S. “Those businesses are all successful,” said Majdi. “My brothers and family have passion, love and care for everything we do. We all have one speed, which is 100 percent.”
Majdi and Mohamad, (pictured above, left and right) along with their brother Mitch, who now oversees the family’s real estate holdings, saw the technology business as the best opportunity to bring their family to America from Lebanon after their father had lost all of the wealth he had built up over 30 years running a successful Laundromat business in Kuwait.
Majdi, in fact, said that in retrospect, the entrepreneurial DNA that resulted in Denali Advanced Integration came from his father. “My Dad moved to Kuwait from Lebanon in 1956 and opened a successful business providing for seven kids,” he recalled. “He had three different Laundromats and sent all of us to school and then college. We were upper middle class and in great financial shape until the Gulf War broke out. Then my family lost everything.”
Majdi was a 20-year-old premed college student who was intent on becoming a doctor at the time, but left college to start the business. Mohamad was an engineer working for semiconductor maker IDT who left his job and sold his car to help finance the business. Mitch was working for Micron, a chip maker in Boise, Idaho, and joined his brothers. “None of us had a plan to start a business, but when the Gulf War broke out our entrepreneurial DNA kicked in,” Majdi said. “Circumstances brought us together.”
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