Nacir Assaadi was born and raised in the seaport city of Agadir, Morocco.
His ancestral home lies in the small Berber village in Tioute, in the region of Taroudant. He attended Takkadoum elementary in the Talborjt section of Agadir followed by middle school Prince Heritier Sidi Mohammed and Lycee Youssef Ben Tachefine.
Nacir participated in the Royal Moroccan Boy Scouts throughout his childhood. He fondly remembers long days of camping by Taghazout beach, singing, campfires, many adventures and a big pan-Arab conference of troups taking place in the Maamoura forest outside of Rabat. His experience with the scouts provided invaluable training in learning how to relate to people from all walks of life and always to be prepared or ready for opportunities as well as setbacks. He can hear the echo of the motto, “Boy Scouts always ready!”
Nacir’s parents, Khadija and Lahcen, who survived the 1960 earthquake, yet lost three young daughters in the tragedy, always instilled the values of gratitude, respect, and hard work. Nacir’s father always had projects and ideas in the works. Aside from his job in the legal sector, he managed a small export business, a consultant practice, and served as a leader to benefit his birthplace village of Tioute. “I try to exemplify the values that my father modeled to me in terms of family values and a unique sense of himself that impacted others. He loved to solve problems and to help people better themselves.”
After high school, Nacir was on a path towards medicine having passed the admissions test. As time for a decision came closer, he opted to attend the University of Picardie in Amiens, France. “ I wanted to satisfy my curiosity that there were other opportunities, other places to learn about and from.” College years were a lot of fun playing sports, organizing parties but tempered by the fact that his budget was tight. “I remember eating beans five and six days a week, and selling soda and ice cream in the summer to pay for room and board. The benefit was that I was able to be on my own, make my way, despite being far from home and family.”
Why did Nacir leave France? “ I felt good in France. I had a lot of good friendships with French people and friends from many places. But I knew as a Moroccan living in France I did not have the best opportunity for success.” The other deciding factor was Nacir was mourning the untimely death of his father. “Everything reminded me of him.”
He had a friend who had been to the States. “George was a happy guy, knew English and made an impression on me. Then my best friend, Hakim Essakl’s brother was in the DC area and encouraged me to visit.” On a lark, Nacir applied for a visa to the US and when he received the document it was like a message that said, “GO!” It was yet another world to explore. He had $200 in his pocket when he arrived March 15, 1987.
“The best thing I did first off was to enroll in a reputable school for English. The money I made working my first job at a restaurant went to pay for the school.” The first impressions were, “anything was possible”. At the time, Nacir was able to get a job right away. In fact, he could work two or more jobs unlike in France.
In a matter of months, Nacir was working on his first business endeavor. He put together a partnership with “Leather Desire” to manufacture and sell high quality leather jackets and goods. It failed. “ I learned the hard way there is no easy way.”
In debt and looking for the next opportunity, Nacir signed on with a Volkswagen dealership in Fairfax, Virginia. Nacir was told the car business was like having your own business without the burden of ownership. “I fell for the concept and of course I was fascinated with the product.” In his first year, Nacir received the highest award for sales, The Presidents Club honor, from his employer, the Rosenthal Automotive Group.
That quick success brought Nacir to management where he again succeeded in receiving the highest awards and accolades from VW and the Rosenthal Organization. Nacir also earns high praise from his staff who considers him to be a “hands on” manager who can solve problems and inspire achievement.
After fifteen years in the industry, Nacir is currently a managing partner at Gaithersburg Mazda/Isuzu in Maryland. He is known for his energetic, can-do style, integrity and intellect. His drive, determination and professional excellence is enhanced by the pride of being able to provide for his wife, Annalisa and their two children, Myriam 9 and Faris, 7. “My family is the reason I am able to achieve and share the best I have to offer.”
Today, after having received the industry’s top sales and customer service awards from VW, Mazda and his employer, Nacir still sees the “opportunity” ahead. “Any career success is a product of good manners, ongoing learning and a positive outlook on life’s conditions.”
Mr. Assaadi is active in the Moroccan community and in charitable endeavors. He is a long time volunteer and supporter of the Orphan Foundation of America, a non-profit charity that educates and mentors college-bound orphaned and foster youth.
His work with the DC area Moroccan Community is more than a decade in the making. From informal collections and counsel to benefit Moroccans new to the US to raising money for the victims of the Al-Huceima, Mr. Assaadi is concerned with American-Moroccan relations and affairs. He was a founding member of AMFOR, the American-Moroccan Forum, a group of professional Moroccans who encouraged cooperation and understanding for Morocco in the US. He is active in the Washington-Moroccan Club having recently co-chaired the “Magical Morocco: Sahara to the Sea” festival that made great strides in bringing Moroccan culture to the area. “The freedom to share my Moroccan and Berber heritage and show that we bring the rich values to the American experience is something I feel a responsibility for.”
Currently, Nacir is excited about the recent signing of the Free Trade Agreement between the US and Morocco. He is anxiously awaiting its ratification and anticipates a strong benefit for Morocco. “It is going to bring positive and necessary changes to the business and administrative culture in Morocco. I want very much for Morocco to have the maximum benefit from this agreement. Unless there are sweeping changes in regards to the banking sector, and gains in the way we conduct and administrate business affairs, the benefits will be symbolic and may actually be harmful. The time is now for all business and governmental leaders to step up and receive this opportunity for all its worth while preserving the unique gem that is Morocco.” Mr. Assaadi is concerned also about how the possibility of increased trade will impact Morocco’s environment and lifestyle. He urges corporate leaders to make responsible choices to find a balance between financial gain and the preservation Morocco’s natural and cultural resources.
Nacir’s believes that Moroccans and Moroccan-Americans living in the US are perceived by the majority of the American public to be people that adapt very gracefully to the American lifestyle. “I know that there are injustices that exist, but my experience has been one of inclusion and acceptance. I still have many friends from many countries, from all walks of life and I feel free to pursue my goals. Again, a positive outlook and view is essential anywhere. I still feel like “anything is possible”. I want that for all Moroccans in America.”