It’s no small achievement to have a company start and become as successful as Social Smoke in just under 14 years. I believe its growth and success links directly back to the hard work, passion, love, and perseverance of the family behind Social Smoke. In this ‘People Behind the Smoke’ series we are going to get to know the Social Smoke family on a more personal level and take a shot at revealing the secret behind their success! This week’s interview is with Mr. Sayyid Nadimi, known at Social Smoke as the “Godfather” and “Scarfather” of the company.
I had the opportunity to meet with Mr. Nadimi when I was conducting a meeting with Ali, his son and the founder of Social Smoke. In the brief time I spent with him, I found him to be incredibly intelligent with a kindness that seemed to radiate out of him. I especially noticed this when my baby was getting fussy (no babysitter at the time) and he took her to play. My daughter is pretty picky about who she will let hold her and before I could call out a warning that she may start crying he had her laughing while she was trying to pull on his face. As I stared in amazement, Ali wanted to continue the meeting as if nothing had happened! That pretty much sealed the deal for me. I knew without a doubt Mr. Nadimi was a special man. So I’m beyond excited about starting this series with him. So without further ado I present Mr. Nadimi….interview form:
How old are you?
I feel like I’m 27, but my ID says 58.
What University did you graduate from? And with what degree?
I received my Bachelors at the University of Texas at Arlington and then went on to complete my Doctorate in Electrical Engineering at the same university.
What was your career before investing in Social Smoke? Did you enjoy it? What did you find challenging about it?
I was involved in research in the wave scattering and propagation at UTA prior to joining Bell Helicopter Textron Incorporated (BHTI) for 10 years. Yes I did enjoy my work very much since I worked on both military and civilian helicopters with the finest individuals in the industry. I found it to be very rewarding and challenging to deal with Electromagnetic Environment Effects (E3) on both commercial and military helicopter. During the same period, I also worked on behalf of FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) as a DER (Designated Engineer Representative) to review, approve, and recommend safety procedures on commercial aircraft to meet the FAA requirements.
What is your current position at Social Smoke? And what are some of the challenges you have faced in the company?
In our company, we share the load in all areas and find that no task is above or below our pay grade. Currently and for the the last year and a half, I have become more involved in Sales and Operations within the company. I still do some supply chain activities, but not as much as before.
The opportunities (challenges) differ from time to time but mainly the challenge lies within adherence and adjustment with the continuous changes in regulations, taxes, and import/export rules within the international and domestic markets. In addition, since we are in an industry that like all other industries changes very rapidly, we need to adjust and change quickly as well. As one of the leaders in this industry we are now dealing with a lot of Counterfeit of our products, and infringement on our trademarks and copyrights.
(For more info on the counterfeit issues Social Smoke is dealing with please read our previous post within this blog.)
How do you feel about the title of Godfather?
It is the title that my oldest two sons, Abrahim and Ali gave me. Since it is from them, I am assuming that they know well not to mess with me. Somehow I’ve also ended up with ScarFather title by my sons and their friends.
Where do you think the company is headed and what are your personal goals for its success in the next ten years?
We have worked very hard to establish a foundation for our company to allow us to continuously grow our business. Because Social Smoke chooses to manufacture its tobacco in the US, and not in the Middle East and North Africa like many of our largest competitors, we have a larger labor and operations cost. It’s a challenge to manage cost while increasing productivity and maintaining a high set of standards Social Smoke is known for. It’s a challenge that I juggle and thrive on everyday. Currently our goal is to expand our market share by better cooperating with local distributors so that we can provide our tobacco to our customers with better availability and service.
What are your passions in life outside of social smoke and how do you indulge them?
My passion outside Social Smoke is primarily related to the well being of my kids and their families. I adore and admire them and I learn a lot from them. They are the best thing I have in my life. Besides that, I am a very simple person and try to learn as much as I can and have to continuously feed my curiosity. I love life itself and I cherish the universe we live in and all that it contains within.
Well that’s pretty sweet and surprising coming from such a tough business man!
Who are your favorite people to be around and why?
It has to be my four kids and their family who I also consider as my best friends. However, in general, I enjoy being around decent people and feel that everyone is unique and has something to offer that I can learn from and take away from being around them.
Who in the past inspired you and why?
There has been many individuals that have inspired me so it is hard for me to name one in particular. I think that we learn and get inspiration from all regardless.
Where in the world do love to visit and why is it meaningful to you?
I have traveled to many parts of the world. I do not have any particular place in mind at this time even though I have a bucket list of places that I would like to visit.
If you had the opportunity to meet and chat with a political or social figure in today’s world, who would it be and why?
This is a hard question since there are many great individuals out there specially social figures.
I do have many (most from Middle East) individuals that I admire. One of them is Rumi. I love his poems and how he sees the world and life itself. It seems to me that a man with that depth had to have lived many lifetimes to acquire his wisdom. From the West, I would love to meet Congressman Ron Paul. I think he does a great deal to improve social welfare in the States.
That’s the end of the interview. I hope you caught a glimpse of what an amazing man he is. If you want to know more about Sayyid please comment or shoot me an email. And check out our next post in this series where I will interview the founder of Social Smoke, Ali Nadimi. Also don’t forget to read next week’s post, April’s Blend: White Gummy Bear!