Ghermay Araya is the founder and CEO of New Light Technologies, Inc. (NLT)—a Washington, DC-based Information Technology products and services company. At NLT, Araya heads a dynamic team of professionals involved in the full life cycle of technology projects from big data analytics to public safety systems. In addition to operational management, providing high level guidance, and financing, Araya considers his most important role to be encouraging the teams at NLT and providing them with the entrepreneurial space and nurturing they need to build world-class and scalable solutions.

Araya founded NLT in 2001 and utilizes a hybrid development and consulting strategy for bringing customer-proven products to market—a strategy borne from more than 25 years of field experience, as well as his education from the Harvard Business School and the University of Maryland Department of Geographical Sciences.  

Araya offered this advice to entrepreneurially minded UMD students:

“If they (students) are inclined to start a business, I recommend incorporating their Geo-spatial background into their offerings as it will be a great differentiation and value-add that will attract customers," Araya said. "I would also recommend that graduating students make a strategic plan for themselves that includes what they want to be doing in the future—perhaps 5 to 10 years out—in their personal lives and includes their GEOG/GIS major as a path that will allow them to stand out in the crowd when it comes to jobs and business opportunities. Perhaps continue to take part-time graduate courses in a technical/IT area of geography while gaining professional experience.”

Originally from Eritrea, Araya immigrated to the United States as a child with his family in the 1970s to flee the Ethiopian invasion. He grew up in the Washington, DC area and received his bachelor’s degree in Geographical Sciences with a focus on Geographic Information Services from the University of Maryland in 1994. 

Currently, Araya keeps busy with his wife, two daughters and two sons. He spends what spare time he has playing in bands and going for long-distance runs. Araya is currently preparing for his fifth Marine Corps Marathon.

Ghermay Araya, GEOG '94