Mariam Darsot Board chair, retired CEO Nexus Pharmaceuticals Inc. 10300 128th Ave., Pleasant Prairie Employees: 200Industry: Pharmaceuticals manufacturing nexuspharma.net
Mariam Darsot, the recently retired president and chief executive officer of Lincolnshire, Illinois-based Nexus Pharmaceuticals, is the Kenosha Area Business Alliance’s 2022 Entrepreneur of the Year, as part of KABA’s Ovation Awards program.
Darsot spearheaded the creation of a family-owned pharmaceutical company that started in her living room and has since grown to have a $100 million manufacturing facility in Pleasant Prairie. The facility is only the first phase of an expected $250 million investment over 10 years, that is expected to create more than 400 local jobs.
Darsot founded Nexus with her husband Shahid Ahmed in 2003. Today, both Darsot and Ahmed, along with their four children, are all active in the company. Nexus aims to make generic drugs more accessible to hospitals and patients.
“At our core, we care about helping others, and being (privately held) has helped us connect more directly to those people we want to help,” said Darsot. “We have more liberty in choosing partners, vendors, and pricing without being swayed by outside voices. We have taken chances with these choices with finding ways to make generic (drugs) as fairly accessible to patients and hospitals as possible, which is something publicly held companies cannot do as freely.”
In addition to her mission to help improve the public’s access to critically needed injectable drugs, Darsot is heavily involved in the surrounding community. Nexus is donating furniture to the Boys & Girls Club of Kenosha and redesigning its space. The company also partnered with the Kenosha Unified School District this year to expose students to the pharmaceutical industry and sponsored the Education Foundation of Kenosha’s annual golf outing.
“I have been active in helping recruit talent in Kenosha County for our manufacturing facility,” Darsot said. “I continue to communicate with local governmental associations to make sure our world-class facility is highlighted and makes this small town’s story known around the world. I also highly encourage our team to support local Kenosha vendors. I am diligent in supporting small, local companies whenever I can.”
Heather Wessling Grosz, vice president of the Kenosha Area Business Alliance, said Darsot stood out as this year’s Entrepreneur of the Year because of the values that she has instilled in her family. As Nexus has launched more products, the company has always remained in control of them, allowing family members to make sure quality and price match their mission.
“I think it’s her leadership in her family … you can just feel it,” Grosz said.
Nexus earned a gold award as part of Inc. magazine’s Best of Business 2021 program. The company has also been certified as a Minority Owned Enterprise and a Women’s Business Enterprise.
Darsot officially retired from her role as president and CEO on Oct. 3. Her son, Usman Ahmed, has succeeded her. Ahmed joined Nexus in 2009 as vice president of finance and business development before being named chief financial officer in 2013. In 2021, he assumed the role of chief operating officer.
Darsot will remain active with the company through her role as board chair.
[caption id="attachment_558122" align="alignnone" width="1280"] Darsot on a facility tour of the new Pleasant Prairie campus in 2021.[/caption]
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