A Frisco resident was honored by legal counsel Scheef & Stone for his achievements as an immigrant in North Texas.
Ali Samana, a Frisco High School graduate, received the Immigrant Entrepreneur Award. This is the first year Scheef & Stone has presented the Immigrant Journey Awards.
Ann Badmus, partner at Scheef & Stone and chair of the Immigrant Journey Awards, decided to use her 20 years of experience as an immigration attorney to give back to the immigrant community in the area.
Through the Immigrant Journey Awards, she hopes to shine a positive light on immigrants and the benefits they bring to the region.
“Immigrants have done so much to make North Texas grow in creation of jobs, startups and new businesses,” Badmus explained. “I thought these awards would highlight those in particular who are doing extraordinary things in the area. I think they make a huge impact.
“They are a growing force, and we have to recognize not only the business contributions but also cultural. The whole idea of the melting pot has certainly shown here in Texas.”
Nine immigrants including Samana who have made North Texas their new home were awarded in the categories of Immigrant Entrepreneur, Immigrant Professional Excellence, Immigrant Spirit and Immigrant Advocate Awards.
Samana, co-founder of 1 Solar Solution, was one of the winners of the Immigrant Entrepreneur Award.
Born in Pakistan, Samana immigrated to Texas in 1999 with his aunt and uncle. After graduating from Frisco High School and then the University of Texas at Dallas, Samana became interested in solar energy, working for two different companies before co-creating his own.
Last year, Samana and his friend Hemal Doshi co-founded 1 Solar Solution.
“We started from scratch and built from the ground up,” Samana said. “After a year, we are a company that’s thriving, that’s successful, and we are looking to grow.”
In regards to winning the 2016 Entrepreneur Award, Samana attributes the success to his coworkers.
“It’s been an honor receiving this award, to say the least,” he noted. “I don’t feel like I am deserving of it, but I do feel like my team is the absolute best team in the business. I think that they deserve all of the praise.”
Proceeds from this year’s Immigrant Journey Awards will fund the American Dream Scholarship, which awards $1,000 each to three graduating high school immigrants or first-generation students. This year’s recipients are Suipen Tial, Samuel Baucom and Moncia Aguirre.