Leading businessman Mahesh Nihalani has become the first Indian American to be honoured with prestigious 'Citizen of the Year' award by the Chamber of Commerce in the Cupertino city in California.
The citation praised the impact he had made in the local community in about seven years since he came to the city The criteria for the award is significant service, teamwork and achievements of the goals set.
The city has a population of about 50,000 out which 50 per cent are Asian Americans. Indian-Americans constitute about 12 per cent of the population.
Nihalani was chosen is an Executive committee member of the Asian American Business Council in 2001, and introduced the celebration of Diwali which is now considered the most successful community engagement in the area.
Nihalani is also an advisor to the Organisation of Special needs Families (OSF) and the California Cricket Academy (CCA).
He was honoured as an 'Asian American Hero' in 2005 and was also the recipient of the 2004 Community Bridge Award.