To celebrate two brothers’ improbable journey from humble beginnings in their native Bangladesh to George Mason University and later to the top of a billion-dollar company is to celebrate George Mason University.
Mason President Gregory Washington lauded brothers Maruf and Mahfuz Ahmed at a special event Thursday, Sept. 14, for embodying the possibilities that Mason offers with its steadfast commitment to access and inclusion.
Washington called the success of the Ahmed Brothers “amazing, but kind of indicative of what happens here at Mason.”
“It’s really symbolic of something that’s much bigger,” he said. “It’s symbolic of what happens here at George Mason. Where else in the region—not just the state—can two individuals from Bangladesh rise to the heights that they achieved? Where else can that happen?”
Maruf Ahmed is the current CEO of Dexian, a McLean, VA-based leading provider of staffing, IT, and workforce solutions with nearly 12,000 employees and 70 locations worldwide. Mahfuz Ahmed is the chairman of the board after preceding his brother as CEO.
After donating $250,000 to the College of Engineering and Computing Dean’s Innovation Fund (a Tech Talent Investment Program-qualifying fund) last fall, the Ahmed brothers asked if the university would be open to dedicating a trashcan near the library on their behalf. While studying at Mason, Maruf Ahmed worked as a groundskeeper for Facilities and cleaned the trashcans in front of Fenwick Library. It was among several jobs he took on to support himself while in school, including another at the dining hall where he washed dishes and helped oversee the dining area.
The trashcan near the Fairfax campus’ Fenwick Library– now painted yellow with a plaque boasting a quote from Maruf Ahmed – is a symbol of their journey from Bangladesh to Mason and now success with a billion-dollar company. The brothers credit Mason for providing them the knowledge, skills and tools to start and build a successful business.
Maruf Ahmed credited his Mason experience for being “extremely influential” in making his and his brother’s success possible.
“Mason means a lot to us,” he said. "This job that I had not only paid for tuition that has allowed me to have the American Dream that we have, but it also showed me the value of hard work, teamwork and kindness.”
Ken Ball, the dean of the College of Engineering and Computing (CEC), said that he hoped others are inspired by the brothers’ leadership and their generous example of philanthropy.
“Now corporate giants and executives in their global technology firm, the Ahmeds are paying it forward.”
Mahfuz Ahmed founded Dexian (formerly known as DISYS) in 1994 with Maruf Ahmed playing an integral part of the strategy, launch, and development of the company. Maruf Ahmed officially joined the company as partner and chief technology officer (CTO) in 1999 as part of a merger with an IT staffing and consulting firm he co-founded in 1998. The brothers combined their vision and drive to build Dexian into a billion-dollar global enterprise.
Maruf Ahmed graduated from Mason with two electrical engineering degrees, earning a BS in 1990 and an MS in 1995, while his brother Mahfuz graduated in 1993 with a BS degree in electrical engineering.
Maruf Ahmed is also being recognized as CEC’s Distinguished Alumnus later this fall by Mason’s Alumni Association at its Celebration of Distinction.
“If two people whose father passed away before we were 10, from one of the poorest countries of the world, can come to the richest country in the world and rise to the top 1%, others can do that as well,” Maruf Ahmed said.
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