December 12, 2006
David Parker, Calgary Herald
Aga Khan national committee snags AccueTrust’s Manji
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, but there are many business people that I know who seem to spend most of their time away from the office in working just as hard for the benefit of others.
Bali Manji, president of AccueTrust Security is a good example. His involvement over the years with the Aga Khan Foundation Canada has earned him the appointment by His Highness the Aga Khan to a seat on the National Committee for a three year term.
Manji grew up and had his early education in troubled Uganda, but moved to Montreal in 1973 and went on to attend Sir Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo. He made the move to Calgary in 1980 and worked for a number of years as controller and systems director for a heavy equipment dealer.
He was a partner in a technology company that was sold to a telco company before founding AccueTrust this past spring. In a short time it has refined and enhanced technology so successfully it is already winning large contracts to handle security systems.
Video conferencing is another major part of his business and his staff are able to provide equipment, install and train customers that today are primarily in government and educational sectors.
He has already established offices in Edmonton, Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Chicago and Houston.
Obviously a busy man, but he says he feels blessed and is eager to give of his time and talents for the benefit of others.
Here in Calgary, he has been long associated with the World Partnership Walk and was the convener for three years. The event takes place from Prince’s Island on the last Sunday of May, but with his new national responsibilities he is holding a conference here in February for around 180 organizers from across the country to strategize and share best practices.
I was interested to learn that their travel and accommodation expenses are paid out of their own pockets.
Same goes for Manji, as he will be travelling throughout Western Canada and visiting the AKFC meetings in Ottawa; he pays his own way and is happy to do so.
When it was established in 1980, AKFC was drawn exclusively from the Ismaili community but today attracts much support from the wider community, including Charlie Coffey, Royal Bank, and Milton Wong, HSBC, who also sit on the National Committee.
The good works that the Aga Khan Foundation does to encourage the spread of hope and address the root causes of instability in some of the most challenging environments in the world are legendary.
I had the opportunity to see some of its schools and hospitals in East Africa a couple of years ago; institutions that are open for all to use.
And all administration costs are paid by the Aga Khan so all money raised goes directly to projects.
A Calgarian who has become enamoured with and a huge supporter of the foundation is respected community leader Jim Gray. I walked a couple of blocks with him last week and he was full of praise about the effectiveness of the work it does in Pakistan and East Africa that he witnessed on visits to tour some of the foundation’s facilities over the past couple of years.
Manji is keen to take the foundation’s work to mainstream Canadians, a good way to get involved is on the walk or the local committee’s golf tournament.