Abdul Subhani was born in Multan, Pakistan, in 1980 but grew up in Islamabad with his three brothers and one sister. His grandfather was a schoolteacher and his father was a commercial pilot. As a boy, Abdul was fascinated by flying, was interested in computers, and enjoyed typical games such as table tennis and cricket. He attended both public and private schools, and as a boy he memorized the Koran (as was expected). He came to the United States in 1998 to work at his uncle’s gas station in Texas, where he enjoyed the business aspects of the job. When his visitor’s visa was about to expire, he realized that he had two options for remaining in the United States, either marriage or sponsorship. Fortunately, the Boys’ and Girls’ Club sponsored him and he was hired as the organization’s technology director. With his job, he was able to apply for grants that enabled him to apply for a work visa. His desire to be independent led him to various jobs and the pursuit of higher education, and finding a mentor also gave him an important source of support and inspiration. Possessing a passion and a gift for working with technology, he became a certified engineer, started an IT consulting company, and constantly sought ways to help others advance. His mentor, Mr. Vernon, encouraged him to “give back to your community” and the country, and Abdul began working with the Army and his local community of Kileen, Texas, where he served as the chair of the Chamber of Commerce. He started the “Army Software Factory,” where Soldiers who are experts in coding work on developing applications for use in the Army. He also became the Chair of Innovation at West Point and was appointed a CASA (Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army) by Secretary McCarthy. As a CASA, his mission is to support Army recruiting efforts, act as a liaison between the Army and National Guard, and foster productive relationships between the community and Ft. Hood.
In this interview, he talks about his childhood, his journey to America, the work he does in the private sector, and his service as a CASA. He discusses the importance of STEM in education and why it needs to be a priority. He recalls his mentors, Mr. Vernon and John Crutchfield, sharing what he has learned from them and how he applies those lessons to his life. Finally, he reflects on what his service as a CASA means to him, his pride in this country, and his desire to give back for all he has received.