YOUSIF GHAFARI OF GHAFARI ASSOCIATES
At the helm of Dearborn-based Ghafari Associates is its tall, athletic founder, Yousif Ghafari. As the oldest of seven children, the Lebanese American smiles: “It is a tradition in Lebanon that the first born become a doctor. Me, I came to the United States and studied engineering.”
The decision paid off. Recently recognized as a joint winner of the coveted 2005 BE Award of Excellence for Building Information Modeling (Multiple Disciplines) with General Motors Corporation, Ghafari’s outstanding team of architects, fellow engineers and consultants have proven themselves to be discipline leaders throughout the world.
“Our business is completely client-centered and based on the integration of buildings, process and people. In addition to designing and engineering facilities, we also have extensive experience in the design and engineering of industrial and manufacturing systems and processes. To take it one step further, we are able to integrate everything three-dimensionally, providing a clear view of how the process and the building fit together — long before the first footing is ever poured. The final integration occurs between the architects, engineers, general contractor and sub-contractors communicating with a real-time digital model.”
It was a long path from the tiny house without electricity and running water (where he was raised) to his sleek Dearborn headquarters, and Ghafari often reflects on the amazing reality in which he now lives. As one of a Bush-chosen delegation of four to the United Nations 59th General Assembly, he met and conversed with world leaders on a level of equality—an experience from which he is still reeling.
“It was like a dream,” he says. “A dream come true for a man from a tiny village in southern Lebanon.”
As one of Detroit’s leading philanthropists, Ghafari was named one of the Top 100 “Executive Heroes” in southeastern Michigan. He is a member of the International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit’s “Hall of Fame”; his portrait is on permanent display in downtown Detroit's Cobo Hall Convention Center. In 2005, Wayne State University acknowledged his longtime support by renaming one of its residence buildings Yousif B. Ghafari Hall.