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Pivotal Group CEO, F. Francis Najafi, Awarded Ellis Island Medal of Honor

Phoenix, AZ -- (May 9, 2011) -- F. Francis Najafi, CEO and founder of Phoenix-based Pivotal Group, was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor for outstanding citizenship, individual achievement and encouragement of cultural unity at an awards ceremony this past weekend in the historic Great Hall on Ellis Island.

The National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations (NECO), the largest organization of its kind in the U. S., presented the award. The Ellis Island Medal of Honor is sanctioned by the U.S. Congress and entered into the Congressional Record. Former recipients include business icons Lee Iacocca, Rupert Murdoch and Barron Hilton.

"The United States is a country of immigrants, each group of people adding to the rich diversity and cultural hodgepodge that makes America a symbol of freedom and tolerance around the world," said Senator John McCain. "The National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations could not have chosen a more deserving recipient of this award that celebrates immigrants' significant contribution to this country than Francis Najafi. As one of the leading Iranian American entrepreneurs in the country, Francis' outstanding career is matched only by his sincere commitment to serving his community, both locally and internationally."

"The cultural diversity of our great nation is essential for America's continued economic prosperity and world leadership," said Mr. Najafi. "This award embodies the ideals of freedom, tolerance and acceptance that attract people from around the globe. I'm honored to be among the recipients who represent all sectors and cultures in our society." Mr. Najafi is one of six Iranian-Americans to receive the Ellis Island Medal of Honor this year.

Pivotal Group is a leading investment company focused on private equity and real estate. Mr. Najafi started a family of privately held firms 30 years ago, investing in landmark properties including the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles, 650 California Street, a Class A commercial office property in San Francisco, the Phoenix Ritz-Carlton; and developing communities such as Promontory, an award-wining second-home community in Park City, Utah. The firm recently acquired Global Capacity, the world's leading telecommunications information and logistics company, and has acquired and sold Network Solutions, a leading provider of Web-based services.

"Francis Najafi is one of Thunderbird's most notable, successful and committed graduates, not only in his professional career, but also for his commitment to the ideals for which Thunderbird stands and his unwavering efforts to advance global business and global citizenship," said Thunderbird President Ángel Cabrera, Ph.D. "Mr. Najafi holds an abiding respect and understanding of other cultures, high ethical standards, and a firm belief that business can be a powerful source of economic prosperity and human development around the world."

Mr. Najafi's interest and commitment to community service spans the world. He is a board member of EastWest Institute, a global think-and-do tank; a trustee and alumnus of Thunderbird School of Global Management; foundation board member of the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen); active in the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA), a leading Iranian philanthropic institution; and governor of the ULI Foundation, which generates funding for research, education and public service activities offered by the Urban Land Institute.

The Ellis Island Medals of Honor pay tribute to the ancestry groups that comprise America's unique cultural mosaic. Ellis Island is the gateway through which more than 12 million immigrants passed in their quest for freedom of speech, religion and economic opportunity.

The honorees are remarkable Americans who exemplify outstanding qualities in both their personal and processional lives, while continuing to preserve the distinct values and rich heritage of their ancestors. "With our medalists, we see America at its best. We see every color, every race from so many walks of life, together, celebrating the magic that is America," said Nasser J. Kazeminy, Chairman of NECO.

About NECO

NECO was created in 1984 on the conviction of its founders that the diversity of the American people is what makes this nation great. Visit www.NECO.org to learn more.

About Pivotal Group

Founded more than a quarter century ago by CEO Francis Najafi, Pivotal Group is a diversified investment company primarily focused on private equity and real estate. For more information, visit www.pivotalgroup.com.

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