HOUSTON, TX (WAFB) - When the New York Stock Exchange opened for business Friday, October 14, a native of Zachary helped ring the opening bell.
Cliff Ghoram works in Houston for Constellation, a subsidiary of energy giant Exelon. He stood up on the balcony above the Stock Exchange's opening tally along with the CEOs of Constellation and Exelon. To hear him tell it, Ghoram is a simple rank and file worker.
"I started as an intern. I've moved up. I'm only an analyst, but I've done big projects," he said.
The email that delivered the news he would fly to New York to be there for the company's unveiling as a new member of the Fortune 100 list, said that Ghoram was excellent at work, but also invested a big piece of his free time volunteering.
"I actually met the CEO at one of the volunteer events. He asked about me and said I was always taking the initiative, asking questions," Ghoram said.
Ghoram's mother back in Zachary, Denise Ghoram, said on Wednesday, she will try to watch the opening bell at the stock market on the internet. She took the day off for this, that's how excited she is!
"I wanted to say about when I read how he was chosen because of his work and his volunteerism," said Denise, who knows what her son has done in the community. "He's come back home last Christmas and he put on a basketball clinic, the kids came and he did it out of his pocket, waved charges, fed everybody, gave them skills. He had motivational talks and then he had some shoes, that he let the kids pick from the pile and take home."
He has also mentored youth at their church in Zachary, New Pilgrim Baptist.
Denise said she overheard one thing that stuck with her that he said to the youth at church: "Do what you need to do, when you need to do it, whether you like it or not."
Ghoram, who played basketball at Rice University in Houston on scholarship, played for international teams.
"After Rice, I played overseas, in Chile. I got my start in Europe in Milan. My last swing at it was in Nova Scotia," Ghoram said. "Then I ended up going back to school. I coached in St. John's in Houston and went back to school. Then went for my masters at Texas A&M."
Cliff Ghoram got his masters in Maritime Administration and Logistics. In fact, he was one of the first to finish in the fledgling program at A&M. His piece of corporate analysis was outstanding and A&M entered him in international competition.
Competing against 20 other students from around the world, Ghoram placed in the top three for the International Maritime industry group in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia and went on to present again in another industry symposium in Tasmania, Australia.
Shining in maritime circles, Ghoram had been working as an intern at Exelon's Constellation energy group headquarters in Houston. When they realized he was finished with school Constellation hired him.
Energy, natural gas, and utilities must draw from the same skills that maritime does, but it's Ghoram's continuing volunteer work in Houston that sets him apart from other workers, perhaps as a leader of tomorrow.
Ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange is but a step in this 28-year-old's future. However, you can expect he's gonna make his name his way.