The Ottawa Hills Board of Education unanimously has selected Villager Adam Smidi to fill its open position. Mr. Smidi will be sworn in as the board’s fifth member Tuesday (Jan. 19) and serve through Dec. 31, 2021.
"My work and life are all about serving others," he said. "I love to see people coming together for important causes that result in better lives." (View video of his acceptance speech and introduction)
He and his wife Rana, a local pharmacist, moved to the village in June and have two children attending the Elementary School (1st and 2nd grades) and a pre-K child at home.
Mr. Smidi (pronounced SMEE-dee) was selected from among nine finalists to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Lisa Brown.
"Adam will bring a lot of energy and new perspectives to the board," said Rob Gnepper, the board’s president. "Our decision was very difficult and we thank all candidates for sharing their vision for helping our students and district."
Mr. Smidi is the chief executive and principal owner of Joe’s Autos, an automotive dealership in Toledo founded by his immigrant father Joe Smidi. He grew up in South Toledo, moved to Sylvania in high school, and graduated from Sylvania Northview High School in 2001. While working full-time, he obtained bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Toledo in management and marketing. He is currently completing the doctoral program in Organizational Communications at Bowling Green State University.
He is a member of the Education Committee of the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo; of the Central Academy of Ohio board; and of the University of Toledo Family Business Center Advisory Board.
He has received several honors, including a "20 Under 40 Award" in 2019 in recognition of his leadership activities in the Toledo area. He also received the "Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award" and "Research Recognition Award" from BGSU’s School of Media and Communication. He also has been recognized as a dedicated advocate for women’s rights by Women of Toledo.
He has taught business and communication classes at both UT and BGSU. He also has been an invited speaker of nonprofit organizations to discuss how economic and social justice, women’s rights, and equality are values shared by Muslims and Americans.
While at BGSU, he served on the college's Board of Trustees representing fellow graduate students. In his second year of doctoral studies, he published an article investigating the role of media in the Arab Spring, and presented two papers on faith-based organizations and Islamophobia at the National Communication Association conference, one of which received the 2017 "Top Student Paper Award."