Making Waves in Mobile Technology

Fareed Adib honored with Alumni Achievement Award

Fareed Adib has built a highly successful career in the field of mobile technology, changing the way people communicate and breaking boundaries for Afghan Americans in the corporate world.

Adib is being honored with the 2016 School of Computing and Engineering Alumni Achievement Award at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, due to his distinguished career and the impact he has made in the field of mobile technology.

Each year, the UMKC Alumni Association recognizes 16 alumni and one family with top honors. UMKC will honor Adib and other outstanding alumni at the 2016 Alumni Awards Luncheon April 21 at Swinney Recreation Center. The luncheon is one of the university’s largest events and proceeds support student scholarships. Last year’s luncheon attracted nearly 600 attendees and garnered more than $141,000 in student scholarships.

Born in Kabul, Afghanistan, and raised in London and Kansas City, Adib learned about adaptation and perspective at a very young age. He attended school in the Kansas City, Missouri School District and says he felt like an outcast among his peers.

”My feeling of being an outcast eventually transformed to a feeling of standing out, and I harnessed that as a driving force to succeed. I think that learning to adapt to different cultures and being exposed to such diversity has made me able to flow with the changes in my industry,” he says.

Adib’s childhood helped prepare him to be a leader and one of his first opportunities for leadership came while he was attending UMKC. A group of international students in his problem solving and programming class nominated him to be the School of Computing and Engineering student council class president, citing his experience as an English speaker as being the best opportunity to represent them to the administration and to the student council. He won the election and attributes the win to their efforts.

“This experience made me understand the importance of leadership and representing people. Also, sometimes you get thrown into being a leader and you have to step up,” he says.

Adib graduated from the UMKC School of Computing and Engineering in 2000 after having completed a highly coveted co-op with IBM. Armed with numerous job offers, Adib took a position at Sun Microsystems as a technical account manager. It was at Sun Microsystems that Adib learned about the mobile platform.

“I remember watching a presentation given by our CTO in 2001. He spoke about the future of computing and stated that in 10-15 years, mobile phones would outnumber all of the computers in the world combined. These phones would become a pivotal form of network computing. In 2001, most people did not have a cell phone,” he says.

Adib then took a new job with Nextel and began his career in mobile technology. Adib’s career in the mobile field has allowed him to create and participate in several technological firsts in the industry. At Sprint, he helped launch the first 4G Smartphone, the first mobile wallet and more. He was the youngest vice president and senior vice president at both Sprint and Softbank. Adib has also been named one of the “Smartest People in Tech, (Fortune, 2011), “40 Under Forty: Mobilizers Making Waves on Mobile Platforms (Fortune, 2012),”40 Under Forty,” (Ingram’s Magazine, 2012) and one of the “Rising Stars of Wireless,” (Fierce Wireless, 2013).

Adib says his biggest accomplishment is working his way up the corporate ladder to become a senior executive with several Fortune 100 companies.  “Being an Afghan American, I feel I may have broken the glass ceiling,” he said.

Recently, Adib left a prestigious position at Google as the global head of Telecom Business Development and Partnerships for Android. In his new role, he is Chief Technology Officer at Vista Equity Partners, a leading private equity firm that invests in software and technology-enabled businesses.

Adib’s career has led to more than rising up the corporate ladder. He spends time advising and mentoring start-up companies and says he enjoys sharing his experience and the many business relationships he has built over the years. He has no specific plans for future projects, but desires to find a way to make a greater impact.

“I truly believe that technology can help drive change, so whatever I do years from now will be about enabling others through technology and helping make change.”

Click here for tickets or sponsorship information for the April 21, 2016 Alumni Awards Luncheon.

Click here for more information on the 2016 Alumni Awards recipients.


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