Sam Simon emigrated to Detroit from Iraq in 1975 when he was 9 years old. He, along with his parents and four siblings made their first home in a family friend’s basement near Five Mile and Gratiot Roads. His father Ramzi took a job pumping gas near Six Mile and Hoover. Looking to contribute, 9-year-old Sam joined his father working at the gas station.
When the local area gas stations had a difficult time getting kerosene in 1985, Sam saw an opportunity. At the young age of 19, Sam used a credit card to purchase a small tank truck for $30,000 and started his own SE Michigan fuel delivery business. It’s with that entrepreneurial spirit that Atlas Oil Company was born!
A key to Sam’s success has always been to surround himself with and collaborate with great people. One of his first Atlas Oil goals was to find a world-class salesperson. That’s where Sam met Nada, also an immigrant from Iraq, who was working for Ford Motor Co. Sam knew she was the right person and offered her a job. At first, she refused. But Sam persisted. His persistence paid off when Nada eventually accepted the position. Their teamwork launched Atlas on a path to success. Their partnership flourished both in business and in life. Seven years later they married.
In reflecting back Sam unequivocally states “My dad is my biggest hero. He brought us to this country with less than $200. He never gave up and never considered failure an option. One of the most important things that he taught us was to always conduct ourselves and our businesses with integrity.” This lesson has helped shape the culture and values that we see today at Atlas Oil and Simon Group Holdings. It’s with a deeply personal understanding and appreciation that Sam and Nada have made it their mission to give back to the country that has provided them with such tremendous opportunity.
Sam and Nada are particularly grateful to our U.S. military men and women who selflessly serve to protect our freedom. Together with Simon Group Holdings company leadership and the Atlas Cares employee team, they host an annual holiday celebration for military families at Michigan’s Selfridge Air National Guard Base. This year will mark the 13th consecutive event. The Sam & Nada Simon Foundation continues to look for opportunities to give back to our community as well as to our military personnel and first responders.
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