gmhTODAY 24 gmhTODAY Feb March 2019 | Page 28

“Every time I return home to the US, I come off the plane and want to kiss the ground, thank- ful that I live in the best place in the world. Until you’ve travelled abroad, it’s easy to take for granted how beautiful this piece of heaven we call California is. I want to see our cities and towns continue to evolve and grow, so they can thrive.” Sal Akhter Project Manager Cordoba Center Project Sal Akhter is no stranger to C-level negotiations and complex, multi-million dollar business deals and he carries his business skills from Silicon Valley to his community work in South County. Currently, he serves as Director of Sales and Business Development for StreetLight Data, a San Francisco-based startup focused on machine learning and AI technology. Sal joined StreetLight Data from Autodesk, where he served as a Business Specialist for Global Strategic Partnerships for the company’s Digital Manufacturing Group. Previously, he was Vice President of Worldwide Sales with San Jose-based Structural Soft, a company that specializes in Building Information Modeling (BIM) software for structural design of light frame buildings. Prior to that, Sal consulted with Aexea Group on the fi rm’s business development and go-to-market strategies; and before that he led sales efforts in the Asia Pacifi c region for Cyber- 28 Guard, an enterprise network security products company. Sal holds a Professional Certifi cate in Data Networks from the University of California, Santa Cruz; and a BSEE degree from Purdue University. In the early 2000s, Sal joined the board of the South Valley Islamic Community (SVIC), serving two terms as Board President. Based on his experience in land development, he was appointed Project Manager of the Cordoba Center Project in late 2005. The SVIC had purchased a 15.8-acre parcel of land in San Martin intending to develop the Cordoba Center, to provide the region’s Muslim community with a permanent multi-use religious and cultural center. Sal and his wife Nadi, a former school teacher, live in the San Martin-Gilroy area. He is a strong proponent of high- quality education and community service, values that he has instilled in his three adult children.