Current Issue
This Month's Issue

Follow Fast Company

We’ll come to you.

2 minute read

This Fast-Growing Company Is Giving Former Addicts And Alcoholics A Second Chance

MHD Enterprises CEO Michael Dadashi knows firsthand that the road to recovery is paved with second, third, and sometimes fourth chances.

Today, Michael Dadashi is the CEO of MHD Enterprises, a multi-million dollar e-waste recycling company based in Austin. But five years ago he was a heroin addict who couldn't keep a job and nearly lost his life to an overdose—and that was his turning point. "I've been given a second chance over a hundred times," Dadashi says. "People have really believed in me. I've let them down. They believed in me again, and I let them down—but it paid off because in 2009 I finally got sober."

MHD takes used IT equipment from large companies or returned consumer products and refurbishes, resells, or recycles them. What sets MHP apart from other e-waste recycling companies is that nearly 70% of the staff are recovering or former addicts. "I got plugged into the fact that if I focus my efforts on helping other people get sober, then I can stay sober—and that's why giving people a second chance is so important to me."

Michael Dadashi

Dadashi, even while in the throes of his addiction, has always been a natural born salesmen. Years before MHD, he talked his way into a job in a field he knew little about and was hired as a sales rep for an e-waste recycling business in California. "They set me up as a rep to do business-to-business sales, so I would cold-call all day, but I'd be high on cocaine, Adderall, or Vicodin," he says. "I would just pick up the phone and start calling people, and I was closing like six-figure deals, but a company can't keep you on their payroll if you don't show up for a week."

After being fired, rehired, and finally fired again, Dadashi started MHD Enterprises in an effort to create a steadier flow of cash to support his heroin addiction. Relying on old clients, Dadashi set up shop recycling computers and parts for resale on his own. When he was clean, business was booming, but when he would relapse, business would come to a screeching halt. "I'd just disappear because my disease would spiral out of control, I would go on these sprees," he says.

Dadashi knew he needed to get clean, but rehab wasn’t working. With the support of a sponsor, Dadashi focused his attention on recovery, had a spiritual revelation, and as of June 20, 2009, Dadashi has remained sober.

Getting clean also meant he could spend more time growing his company, but as MHD developed into a sustainable business Dadashi needed employees. With the rehab community being his closest circle, he turned to recovering drug addicts and alcoholics to find his work force.

Dadashi regularly speaks at rehab centers in the Austin area to promote and encourage the road to recovery, and he remains focused on growing MHD in order to maintain his own sobriety: "We're giving computers and electronics a second chance, but what talks to my heart is giving people a second chance."