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Sam Mahrouq immigrated to the U.S. from Amann, Jordan for college. While balancing study and work, he decided he wanted to do something bigger than just waiting tables in a restaurant-more creative, more profitable. So he began selling used cars, first in Texas and soon in the Middle East. "When I graduated, I was exporting about 20 to 30 cars each month and making about $1,000 to $1,500 on each sale. I was so energized that I dropped my idea of studying international law and launched the MEI Group (Mahrouq Enterprises Inc.);' says Sam.
"During the economic downturn in 2008 and 2009, I was exposed to how horrific the economy could be. And, how much I lost on dealing luxury cars-compared to the profits I made in selling smaller vehicles. But I knew 'Everyone Needs A Car', so I converted MEI to a "tote the note" business and created my own sub-prime finance company that now supports auto sales of about 600 to 700 cars a month:'
Moving forward and being fascinated by the growing technology sector, Sam came up on another idea-which is proving to be a phenomenal solution to inventory problems in the automotive industry. "It's almost impossible to keep track of all the cars, on and off the lots. We were losing as many as so cars a year and needed a solution to this never-ending problem, as did other dealers;' says Sam. "There had to be a better way than fences and security cameras. My solution, iKON Technologies, benefits everyone. The dealers can put our device in every car and have complete knowledge of the car's location, and they can sell the technology to their customers as an add-on, anti-theft device. Hence, all the stakeholders are happy:'
Sam always believes in win-win opportunities, and now is focused on monetizing the data that they are gleaning at iKON Technologies. "Innovation is the key word here. Innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity - not a threat. And seeing how to monetize a good idea and taking calculated risks is the best advice I can offer today;' explains Sam.
Sam credits his successes to always adhering to best practices, looking for the win-win, and not exploiting others. And, he gives back. He recently funded the $500,000 University of Texas at Arlington School of Business Financial Markets Lab, emphasizing to the students that an understanding of local, national and global economics is of utmost importance. "I am proud to have funded the financial lab at the University of Texas at Arlington's School of Business;' says Sam. "The lab features the Bloomberg software system that provides business students with near real-time financial market data, up-to-the-minute news, and securities market analytics:' The system covers every asset class, including fixed income, equities, foreign exchange, commodities and derivatives. The information spans companies, industries, markets, economies, countries and regions. "It's phenomenal-our students have access to the technology and real-time business and market data used by the leading business and finance professionals around the globe:'
Oftentimes, Sam is asked about how he has built his teams who are the epitome of success, and he reflects on his parents. "They lived by the Golden Rule-that we should be charitable and merciful. We should take care of our neighbors;' he says. "That has always resonated with me, and in business, to me that translates to being ethical. I respect my business associates, operations and marketing teams, customers-and even my competitors:'

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