Silicon Hollar Entrepreneur Profile - Zak Ammar, Vixster, CEO and Founder

Written by: Dave Walker, Program Manager for Ascent Business Network

Do you live in an area that doesn't have trash and/or recycling pickup? Do you have trash piling up in your garage and wish it would suddenly disappear? Do you want the time that you spend at the county convenience center sorting your recyclables, back in your day? If you have trash collection services already - how about getting that monthly bill reduced? This could be a your reality and the service (currently in open beta) is already available. This month, we'll take a look at what Zak Ammar, from Vixster, has up his sleeve and how he plans to change the way we dispose of trash and recycling in the High Country.


What does Vixster do?

Vixster is a trash and recycling service company operating in “The Sharing Economy” that facilitates a peer-to-peer removal service for commercial and residential customers.

Why did you decide to locate Vixster in the High Country?

I moved to the High Country from Texas to pursue a MBA with a focus in Supply Chain Management at Appalachian State University. I was born in New Orleans, raised in Texas. The mountains here are great! There’s so much to do. I enjoy fishing, cooking, and raising chickens. Compared to Texas, having four seasons is fantastic. In Houston, it’s hot, hot, hot, and even more hot. The High Country has become my new home, and I am excited to continue growing roots up here.   

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How does Vixster solve a community need?

There are over 20,000 residents in Watauga County, who do not have waste & recycling removal services. At least sixty other rural counties in North Carolina have this exact problem. People drive past the landfill and convenience centers every day, but the waste centers’ hours are inconvenient with our busy schedules. Once you get to the waste centers, recyclables must be separated by the residents themselves, and this has contributed to an even greater problem – 60% of Watauga County’s landfill waste is recyclable material. Vixster delivers an efficient and manageable waste disposal system for businesses and citizens.

Why is business planning important and who helped you along the way?

Business planning is important because it allows you the opportunity to map out your vision and goals so that you can effectively execute them. Erich Schlenker, the Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at Appalachian State has been pivotal in my growth process, specifically as a mentor, advisor, and coach. The Center for Entrepreneurship offers several great services for students looking to launch a business. They have a mentorship program, an accelerator program, space to collaborate, advisors, coaches, affiliations with SBTDC, and legal/accounting/etc contacts/resources. All of these have been invaluable to me through my businesses launch.

What’s next for Vixster?

My vision is to change the way people to trash and recycling in the high country - to create jobs, solve the need for trash and recycling in rural areas, and to reduce the overall amount of recyclables in our landfills. I am actively partnering with web developers, and designing a marketing campaign. Check out Vixster at http://www.vixster.com/. We’re looking forward to a complete reconstruction of our webapp platform, with a January 1st launch date. Vixster is the beginning of a new era for how our community manages trash and recycling in the High Country.


Credit: Interview conducted by Dave Walker, Program Manager for Ascent Business Network, a program of High Country Local First.

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