Indian American Business Leader Touts Civic Connections

Arun Agarwal loved seeing Dallas skyline shine in homeland’s flag’s colors

By: Briar Bundy

Preston Hollow resident Arun Agarwal has advice for other Indian Americans: “Get involved.”

Agarwal, CEO of multimillion-dollar textile business Nextt with business interests in cotton trading and real estate, co-chairs the Indian American CEO Council (IACEO) and supports civic and nonprofit work in the U.S. and India.

“Make a change more civically engaged than politically,” he said. “Liking or not liking doesn’t help. Get involved in local communities and start with a small change. Take that initiative, and who knows what the connectivity will bring.”

In addition to his work with IACEO, Agarwal serves as president of the Dallas Parks & Recreation Board. He also is a board member of the U.S. India Friendship Council, the University of Texas at Dallas Executive Board, Texas Tech Innovation HUB at Research Park, Big Brothers Big Sisters International, and MD Anderson Board of Visitors.

Agarwal co-founded IACEO with Sanjiv Yajnik of Capital One because it “aligned [with his] interests in economic development and civic involvement.”

The mission of the IACEO is to “facilitate domestic and global alliances, elevate the community and drive economic prosperity for the nation.”

Lately, IACEO has been highlighting a study done in partnership with the University of Texas at Dallas that demonstrates the impact of the Indian American community.

A few findings:

  • 200,000 Indian Americans live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
  • Almost one-in-three Indian Americans work in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics).
  • Indian Americans are twice as likely as other racial groups to work in management.
  • 26% of U.S.-born Indian Americans performed community service in 2020.

In August of this year, Gov. Greg Abbott announced the appointment of Agarwal as vice chairman of the Texas Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors. The corporation works with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development & Tourism to market Texas, domestically and globally, as the best state for business and, in 2018, funded Abbott’s nine-day trade mission to India.

Agarwal identified the most rewarding experience during his time on IACEO as the past two Indian independence days. He said, “We got to light up the AT&T HQ, Bank of America Plaza, the Hunt Building, the Omni Hotel, and Reunion Tower downtown with the colors of the Indian flag.”

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