By any standard, Ahmad Chebbani has been indispensable in revitalizing Dearborn, most prominently through his foundation of the American-Arab Chamber of Commerce in 1992—a contribution which has been proudly acknowledged many times by Dearborn’s former Mayor, the late Michael Guido.
“Culture shock,” is his way of describing his entry to the United States and the pathway that led to the American-Arab Chamber of Commerce and his own series of wildly successful business, including Omnex Accounting, the busiest single tax preparation office in the USA. Additionally, along with his wife Michelle, he owns a Beirut-based digital imaging company. All this arose on the heels of early jobs as a busboy or gas station attendant, proof positive of what the United States can offer immigrants who are willing to apply themselves. Still, with growing companies generating millions in sales, the USA owes as much to Chebbani as he does to her.
A man of both extreme intelligence and sensitive wisdom, Chebbani has seen extremes in both the upside and the downside of his Lebanese ancestry. Having recognized the need of local Arab Americans for a chamber of commerce uniquely suited to them, addressing their needs and wants, he has interacted with all nationalities and religious affiliations, not only co-existing, but working synergies which in the Middle East might be impossible.
All the while, he has managed the pain of having lost nine members of his immediate family, including his mother and sister, in a bomb raid in Lebanon in 1982. Lesser men might harbor insurmountable emotions, but Chebbani uses all experiences in his life, positive and negative, as a tool for growth and learning.
“We are all human beings,” he maintains. “In the Middle East, it is our obligation to search out peace together.”