Smita Shah Shows Peace, Tolerance, and Acceptance Exist in the Very Diverse Town of Chicago

The esteemed of Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot, recently proclaimed that October 2 will be considered the yearly Mahatma Ghandi Day in the Windy City. The good mayor made the announcement at the annual Legacy of Mahatma Gandhi luncheon in the presence of Senator Dick Durbin, CEO of  World Business Chicago Andrea Zopp, and First Lady Amy Eshelman, along with Smita Shah, who is the head of the event. This was a project of the Chicago Sisters of the International Delhi Committee.

The proclamation of the local government head marks the 150th anniversary that commemorates the birth of Mahatma Gandhi, who is an iconic figure all over the world for his work to free the Indian people under years of British ruling that was oppressive to their culture. His protest was non violent in origin to defend and protect his country and his countrymen’s identity. Many people idolize him and look up to his works because he exhibits that peace and harmony can be possible to achieve from two opposing factions without creating any war and destruction.

The announcement actually preserves the future for all kids and protects the legacy of this political activist and leader in India and the rest of the world. On top of that, this proclamation protects the deep roots of the Indian culture that has been established all over the city, with many of them who call the town home. With the vast Indian community in Chicago, it is but right to celebrate the bonds of the Indian community and the general populace, who have been generally tolerant and welcoming in spite of their glaring physical and cultural differences. This move further enhances unity and appreciation.

Smita Shah happens to be the and CEO of Spaan Technology, a company that contribute so much to the city. An engineer by profession, and now turned entrepreneur, Shah’s business is responsible for the many past successful builds and current on-going construction in the various key sectors of Chicago. Shah said that she is thrilled and appreciative of the mayor’s efforts to recognize their country’s hero, which in turn honors the efforts of the Indian community for the town. It is also a personal victory for Smitah Shah because she organized the luncheon herself and is the founder of the annual event herself, which has been ongoing for 5 years now. Learn more:

She said that she purposely set up the luncheon, so that she and her countrymen can celebrate the lessons learned from India’s number one hero. It is also a celebration of the country’s freedom from the British empire, so they can be free enough to relish their own ways of doing things. On top of that, Smita Shah said another goal of the luncheon is to show that it is totally possible for peace, tolerance, and acceptance to reign supreme even in the very diverse city Chicago, with all the various ethnic communities living in town. By honoring Mahatma Gandhi, it is a reminder for people that just about anyone can create an impact in someone else’s life. The event also reiterates how crucial it is to work together and to live in harmony and peace.

Connect with Smita on LinkedIn

Smita Shah Helps Highlight The Importance Of Community In Chicago

With several decades of experience in the niche, Smita Shah is an accomplished engineering professional who has worked with a variety of firms during her career. Before entering the field, Shah studied at several institutions, most notably graduating from Northwestern University, MIT, and Oxford University with engineering and business qualifications. Following this, she would go on to work with various organizations before founding SPAAN Tech in 1998.

In the following decades, Smita Shah would lead the firm to receive several accolades, including being named Best of Business in Chicago Engineering Services by the Small Business Commerce Association, among a variety of other awards. Throughout this time, the entrepreneur herself would receive praise from a variety of sources, including being an Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award Finalist and being named a Young Civil Engineer of the Year by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Throughout this time, the engineering entrepreneur has been involved in a variety of philanthropic causes and has supported the After School Matters non-profit alongside the Museum of Science and Industry, and several others. For the past several years, she has served as the chair of the Chicago Sister Cities International Delhi Committee, a non-profit organization that she helped to establish. In her role with the organization, Shah has been involved in a variety of activities and initiatives across Chicago, with many of these focusing on celebrating the contributions of the Indian-American community to the city.

For the past several years, the Chicago Sister Cities International Delhi Committee has held an annual event named the Legacy of Mahatma Gandhi luncheon. The event, which looks to honor the man it was named after and has entered its fifth year, seeks to highlight the fact that Chicago is made up of a variety of cultures, each of which helps contribute to the city’s success.

The most recent event was attended by a variety of leading figures in the Chicago community, including Mayor Lori Lightfoot, World Business Chicago CEO Andrea Zopp, First Lady Amy Eshelman, and Senator Dick Durbin. During the luncheon, Mayor Lightfoot announced that October 2 would be named Mahatma Gandhi Day in Chicago to recognize the 150th anniversary of his birth.

Alongside this, Mayor Lightfoot noted that the day would help celebrate the lasting legacy that he has had, as well as the deep roots that Indian culture has across the Chicago community. Speaking at the luncheon, Smita Shah noted that this was an honor, both for herself personally and for the Indian-American community as a whole. Furthermore, she highlighted how the program can help Chicago natives to recognize the impact that Indians have had on the city. Learn more:

This is something that is further enhanced through Chicago’s position as a sister city to Delhi, which Smita Shah notes helps to highlight the connection between the two cities. Shah has also noted that this is one of the primary reasons why the Delhi Committee of Chicago founded the Annual Legacy of Mahatma Gandhi. Alongside this relationship, the organization looks to celebrate the principles of truth and non-violence.

Connect with Smita on LinkedIn

Fortress Investment Group Service Portfolio and Recent Acquisition

Fortress Investment Group is a New York based investment management company whose core competencies include the management of credit funds, liquid hedge funds and alternative assets held in private equity. According to Crunchbase, the company was established in 1998 as a private equity firm that today serves over 1700 private clients and institutional investors around the globe. Fortress has had a total of 9 exits involving entities from diverse backgrounds. The listing includes Small Bone Innovation, Netlist, Layered Technologies, Marathon Patent Group and GTS Central Europe, which offers telecommunication services to businesses and institutions in Central Europe. As of September 2017, Fortress had over $36 billion assets under its management and close to 1,000 employees working under the asset management segment.

Fortress also has 200 investment professionals working across the company. In management matters, the CEO of Fortress Investment Group is Adam Levinson. Matthias Moser and Andrew Berman serve as the company’s MDs while Peter Briger is the Principal and the Co-Chairman of the Board of Directors. The company’s investments are mostly targeted at real estate, energy, telecommunication, gaming and consumer finance sectors. In February 2017, Fortress Investment Group was acquired by a Japanese multi-national telecommunication and internet conglomerate, Softbank Group Corp. According to Bloomberg, the much talked about deal was worth $3.3 billion, and saw the co-opting of another Japanese technology oriented investment fund. SoftBank operates five company segments, including Sprint, ARM and Domestic Telecommunications.

The Domestic Telecommunication split offers a host of services including mobile communication and broadband services. Sprint on its part engages in selling and leasing of mobile devices as well as offering mobile communication services. Sprint is also in the business of providing fixed line telecommunication services at the corporate level. In the next 4 to 5 years, Softbank is looking to create a $300 billion asset management firm that will comprise its $90 billion Vision Fund that targets investments in the tech sector. The SoftBank conglomerate was founded by Masayoshi Son, who is also the company’s Board Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. Ken Miyauchi is the President, Representative Director and Chief Operating Officer while Nikesh Arora is SoftBank’s advisor. In November 2017, Fortress released its 3Q results showing stable outlook.

According to Fortress, the company had Assets Under Management (AUM) standing at $36.1 billion and GAAP net income of $190 million. The report indicated that a massive 85% of the AUM was held in long term investment structures. He company’s pretax distributable earnings stood at $291 million. During the period under review, Fortress completed the sale of Logan Circle Partners to MetLife and raised a capital totaling $1.8 billion from alternative investment businesses. Before the acquisition by SoftBank, Fortress shareholders met in July 2017, and voted overwhelmingly in favor of the proposed meager. Over 99% of the shareholders voted for the deal. Under the terms of the arrangement, Fortress continues to operate as an independent entity within the parent company. It was also agreed that the principals, Pete Briger, Randy Nardone and Wes Edens retain their executive portfolios.


Maarten De Jeu of SVM BUSINESS ADVISORY Gives Commercial Real Estate Investment Advice

The developer of SVM BUSINESS ADVISORY, Maarten De Jeu, is a multilingual and illustrious financial advisor. Polishing his knowledge early on, Maarten has pioneered his way to success as one of Fortune 100’s most cultivated financial experts. His growth has led him to a combined professional knowledge of investment strategies, international business, commercial real estate investment, and an array of financial services.

About Maarten De Jeu

While completing his M.A. at the Leiden University in the Netherlands Maarten started off as an analyst at TVDK Management. He worked for 9 years at the company, while continuing on to earn an Executive MBA at the Said Business School at the University of Oxford, graduating in 2005. In 2008 he joined an insurance firm Aviva plc in London, developing company growth plans for European and Asian countries. He was quickly promoted to the Director of Strategy and Corporate Development and would uncover his eye for providing prosperous business opportunities and business portfolio reviews. In 2012, he launched SVM BUSINESS ADVISORY where he has continued his work on financial services, international business, and commercial real estate investment.

The Prosperous Side of Commercial Real Estate Investment

Commercial real estate is properties owned by businesses for the purpose of a working environment. These properties range from convenience stores, hotels, office spaces, restaurants, retail stores, and warehouses. Routinely commercial real estate is more expensive when buying and maintaining over time, Maarten advises outside of individual investment and instead urges the use of investment pooling. Maarten found that profits can be amplified in this way because there’s less loss in the cost of ownership. In 2012, the JOBS Act was passed releasing restrictions for small businesses and allowing the use of crowdfunding as a way to easily invest. Meaning that the investors pool funds together into a portfolio of these properties. This results in the warrant of equity ownership for a portion of a commercial property.

Safer Gains

Commercial real estate investment is generally a safer option in comparison to bonds or stocks. Less market rise and falls provide more protection from risk. Along with being a more financially affordable option for investors, with non-accredited investors allowance of a low $5,000.00 investment in previously pegged commercial real estate properties, fees are regularly lower than standard management fees. The ease of investing in commercial real estate specifies the use of a licensed financial adviser as unnecessary. With more online gain for the survey of access to portfolios, the cost of management is simply lower and more time effective. Maarten specifies that short-term reimbursement is another worthy reason to invest in commercial real estate. Because of lease ownership, tenants are expected to pay monthly, oftentimes for a period of one to five years, ensuring that the investor has a constant amount of cash flowing in. The assurance of profitability of higher probability, making it easier to balance out savings for future heftier investments. Learn more:

Tax benefits from commercial real estate are also superior. Investors can deduct the amount of deflation in property value for every tax year it does. Additionally, as of 2018, 20% allotments for a pass-through deduction can be taken advantage of if a corporation can be labeled as a limited liability by the investor. 

The best way to ensure you’re benefiting fully through your investments is to consult with a financial adviser or another reputable financial professional.

(September 23, 2019). Maarten De Jeu Explains the Benefits of Investing in Commercial Real Estate. [Web log post]. Retrieved October 28, 2019, from

De Jeu, Maarten. Maarten De Jeu [Web log post]. Retrieved October 28, 2019 from

Follow Maarten De Jeu on Twitter

Smita Shah: Promoting Indian Culture in the United States

Smita Shah is the founder of SPAAN Tech, one of the leading engineering firms in the United States. She established SPAAN Tech in 1998 and worked hard to help it grow and reach new clients. Her hard work paid off as her company is recognized across the country as one of the fastest-growing engineering firms. Smita Shah is also awarded for her contribution to the engineering industry.

Aside from her stint with SPAAN Tech, Smita Shah is also an active civil rights leader. She serves as the chairman of the Delhi Committee, one of the divisions of a local movement called Chicago Sister Cities International. The group aims to promote the culture of India and to strengthen the ties between the two countries. Observing the welfare of Indians who live in Chicago is also one of the responsibilities of the group.

Smita Shah is an immigrant herself, leaving India for the United States when she was younger. She spent most of her childhood in India, but because of the lack of opportunities, her family decided to live abroad. They chose to immigrate to the United States because it offers a lot of opportunities. Smita Shah benefited from her family’s decision to migrate as she was given a chance to demonstrate her engineering skills when she entered MIT. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT for short, is the leading school when it comes to engineering degrees. Smita Shah has been dreaming of entering this school someday, and her dreams became real after she was admitted by the school.

Despite her achievements, many people are raising her eyebrows as to how a woman of color would want to take an engineering degree at one of the most prestigious schools when it comes to engineering. She decided to ignore those who are skeptical about her abilities and continued to work hard to achieve her dreams. She would like to prove that even if she is a woman of color, she can still succeed in an industry dominated by men. Learn more:

After she graduated, Smita Shah started to look for a job. However, she felt that performing jobs for a company is not her forte, so she decided to leave the corporate world and established her business instead. It was in 1998 when SPAAN Tech was established, and she used her knowledge in the field of engineering to get a lot of clients. Being an immigrant is not a hindrance for her to succeed – in fact, it helped her achieve her life goals.

Last October 2, as a tribute to the Indian immigrants who live in Chicago, Smita Shah decided to invite Chicago’s officials, including the mayor. They ate lunch together at an event called the Legacy of Mahatma Gandhi, which is being held yearly. The Chicago Sister Cities International organized the event, and this year, they celebrated the 150th birthday of Mahatma Gandhi. Mayor Lori Lightfoot also announced that the city council passed a resolution designating October 2 of every year as the Day for Mahatma Gandhi. Smita Shah was happy knowing that the city recognized one of the most important historical figures in India, and it will have a positive impact on the Indian immigrant community in the United States.

Follow Smita Shah on Twitter

Alejandro Betancourt Lopez Illustrates the Journey to Self-improvement

Improving skills, personality, and knowledge is critical in every engagement that a person meets. Alejandro Betancourt Lopez, the prominent global business personality and entrepreneur, is not any better considering his background. Born in Venezuela to a musician, and a great grandfather who rose from being a farm worker to a president, Betancourt has inspired many people in the world.

While addressing matters of his success, Alejandro Betancourt Lopez emphasizes on self-improvement. Giving an analogy on the rise of his great grandfather – Hermogenes López, Betancourt highlighted that his great grandfather had not gone to school as such, and he worked as a farmer. Hermogenes later joined the military as a soldier and then became a military leader. Revolutionist, and innovator who became the president of Venezuela in a transitional government when the president went to exile. Read more about Alejandro Betancourt Lopez at

Betancourt speaks of some aspects that one can practice becoming successful. While being interviewed by the journalists and the likes, he demonstrates that a person should take some steps to reach somewhere or instead become established.

The first one is to begin. Though Alejandro Betancourt Lopez was born and raised in a wealthy family in the capital city of Venezuela, he took a step to continue what his great grandfather had started. He ventured into the energy sector. He expanded his scope to various continents, including Europe, the United States, South America, Africa, and the Middle East and industries like real estate, farming, finance, and international trade.

Taking strategic steps forward is another thing that Betancourt encourages. He disqualifies the point at which a person quits an idea because of missteps or mistakes and says that difficult times are there, but one can still progress amid them. Lopez also points out that you should surround yourself with the people you can trust. The people assist in mentoring and coaching you to success.

Besides, Alejandro Betancourt Lopez urges you to embrace change. He indicates that change is sure to happen, and you should find ways to cope up with it as you strive to become self-improved. Betancourt also tells people to be accountable in everything that happens in the business: be it good or bad. He further remarks that one should acknowledge where they have come from and appreciate it.

Finally, Alejandro Betancourt Lopez encourages you to have an intention first of doing something before thinking of the results and to continue trying. Learn More:

Bridges of Understanding in Engineering

Smita Shah started a tech company in 1998, 2 years after graduating from Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a Master’s Degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering. Her initial thought when creating Spaan Tech was to create a company where a group of talented people could come together and work on great projects to make things better. She dove in thinking either she would fail and end up working for someone else or things would take off and be extremely successful. 

Growing up she claims, “I was a very big nerd”. Smita would participate in the math and science programs and had won many statewide competitions. Smita still has the ribbons and trophies from those competitions. That drive continued through her high school and college career. She was one of the only girls on the team and also one of the only “brown girls” on those teams. In her early days, she worked as an Intern at the White House and was asked if her parents were either engineers or doctors. She responded stating that her father was an engineer and her mother was a real estate manager. There has been a growth in seeing Indians in these highly educated fields. But that doesn’t mean that Smita hasn’t dealt with judgment for being in the engineering world. People are constantly surprised that she has her Masters from MIT.

When asked about why there aren’t as many women in the engineering world, Smita thinks that there isn’t enough of Math and Science is shown as a good thing and that there aren’t many women in the workforce to show how successful it can be. She continued to say that it can a rewarding world and still leaves enough time for a family. Smita made sure that having a family was a part of her company and that she promotes creating a family within her business. Even in her own family, she pushes and encourages her daughter to be outspoken and reach for her dreams. Learn more:

Spaan Tech is currently working on family housing, roofing, adding solar paneling, roadway projects, adding lights to the highways, a new runway at O’Hare International Airport. Over the last 20 years, Smita and Spaan Tech have won many awards crossing many different areas. And last year was listed at number 1,821 on Inc. magazine’s list of the 5,000 fastest-growing private companies. Smita also sits on many boards and helps to encourage new businesses and young entrepreneurs.

Connect with Smita on LinkedIn

How Smita Shah Deals With Success

Many people have come and gone throughout the world of business over the years but Smita Shah appears to be somewhat of a special case. As someone who became a founder and CEO at just 24, she has made history as one of the youngest business owners and entrepreneurs in the business. So how has she managed to accomplish such an impressive feat? She recently agreed to an interview to talk about how she made it to this point and what her secrets to success are. Back in high school, she couldn’t help but notice she was one of the only girls in her math class and all the other students were caucasian. As such, you can imagine how driven she is to excel in a field typically dominated by white men and this is why she went to Northwestern for college.

She knew that if she could excel in her classes, she would go on to have a particularly successful career and this proved to be true after she graduated as one of the top students in her class. Upon receipt of her degree, she moved on to grad school where she completed an internship with the office of the white house chief of staff in DC. Once she had concluded her academic career, she had to dive into the real world and this manifested itself in the form of her first job with a company called SOM. After serving in the role of a structural engineer for about a year, she realized she was ready to start her own business.

This would later come to be known as Spaan Tech and over twenty years later, they have continued to thrive. However, when she was just starting out, she wasn’t sure if the company was going to flourish so she tried not to get too attached to it. Nowadays, however, she is much more adamant about ensuring the company does well for many decades to come. She was confident that her failure would only result in her working for someone else but, if the business turned out to be a hit, she would become a role model for future generations of females who are looking to follow in her footsteps. Of course, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing for her as she has experienced a bit of discrimination even in her current position. Learn more:

However, she has assured her employees that she does not let it get to her and understands that it was merely a case of mistaken identity. With a staff of over half a thousand, she now understands the importance of being there for them and their families and helping them to succeed in any way she can. As far as the company itself, they are devoted to creating new structures throughout the world such as bridges, parking garages, and the occasional superhighway. They also help light up the world by working to fix various fixtures such as lighthouses, spotlights and those call boxes used for emergencies.

Connect with Smita on LinkedIn

Maarten de Jeu’s Tips For First-Time Commercial Real Estate Investors

When looking to diversify an investment portfolio, many consider the benefits that come from real estate. To many, it seems like an initial cost can lead to many years of seemingly passive income from those who rent the property. Maarten de Jeu, a corporate development strategist and consultant, urges investors to consider what they’re looking for in an investment and come to understand the labor that will follow.

Firstly, there is quite a bit of difference between commercial and residential real estate investing. Commercial real estate, for example, is generally more costly than residential. But that increase in price comes with some advantages, like longer leases, higher rents, and contributions towards taxes, property insurance, and maintenance. For those interested in this, de Jeu has outlined some steps to get there.

Having worked across industries over his career, de Jeu has come to regard each one as a people business. Investors coming to real estate for the first time will soon realize that their ability to generate capital, find ideal properties, and close on them will depend on knowing people, how to communicate with them, and how to best ally with those best positioned to meet their business ambitions. 

A good place to meet such people are networking events. De Jeu says that these events are held with the purpose of bringing industry people together to form working relationships. New real estate investors can use these events to learn more about the business, how it plays out at a local level, and start relationships with influential people who can help them in the future. De Jeu says the goal ought to be to build a professional social network around their new business.

To be effective at networking, and make people excited about working with you, de Jeu says even an amateur investor needs to be well-read on real estate investing. Digesting information on how real estate investing works makes sure an investor makes the right impression at those networking events and informs their decisions moving forward.

With information on hand and the right relationships started, de Jeu says the next step for any investor is to thoroughly research their investment prospects. Attending open houses and touring neighborhoods can tell investors a lot about local property values, damage to the property itself, and room for modernization to accommodate future tenants.

Once an investor has a good sense for what a property might cost, and how the area might impact that investment, it’s time to consider comparables. This a data set that compares price, potential value increase, and other factors of a similar property in a similar location.

However investors decide to proceed, de Jeu says that a wise one will take the time to research the business, have the amiability to make friends within the local business community, and be mindful to consider the actual cost of this investment. Learn more:

About Maarten de Jeu:

Maarten de Jeu works in corporate development and strategy for corporations in Europe and across North America. Upon completing his MBA at the University of Oxford, de Jeu started his career with Aviva plc as a Director of Strategy and Corporate Development. He excelled in this position and was moved back to London to serve the company’s offices there as an International Strategy Manager. He sought a change of employer and found it in TVDK Management Consultants. There he worked with large corporations as a consultant, helping them expand their footprint to new markets in other countries.

Connect with Maarten on LinkedIn

GPB Global Resources Explores Oil In Ethiopia

Ethiopia is one of the most vibrant nations in Africa. This is an area with a long history and a highly educated population. Those who can find opportunities in this area are likely to find a workforce happy to reach for profits with them. One company that understands this process is GPB Global Resources. GPB Global Resources is a unit of a much larger state owned enterprise. As such, GPB Global Resources has behind it the know how of Russia, a nation with an equally long history and an equally educated population ready and able to meet the challenges of the coming decade. Right now, those who watch this industry are not surprised to learn this is one team that is about to invest millions in this part of the world. GPB Global Resources is bringing in about sixty million dollars to Ethiopia in order to search for petroleum resources. The company has a specific focus on the northeastern part of the country. They expect to find a great many potential places to drill in this area. See the company’s profile on Linkedin.

Approval From the Government

Officials at this company have found approval from the Ethiopian government. The approval is in part for an agreement that allows them to explore the area for a period of seven years. In addition, they have also signed an agreement that allows them to spend twenty-five years in producing any oil they might find in this part of the world. They plan to put in a series of test wells that are designed to see if there’s oil in an area that’s about forty-two thousand square kilometers. The area they intend to explore is known as the Afar region. This is a historical region that forms part of a region known as the East Africa Rift Valley. The East Africa Rift Valley has been inhabited by humans for many thousands of years. This is part of an overall plan with the Ethiopian government that seeks to help vastly increase revenues for the country. Doing so will help all involved create value for the company and Ethiopian citizens.