New York-born Robert and Leland Ackerley were exiting a Houston rodeo when they decided to take the bull by the horns and start high-tech distribution company N.F. Smith & Associates in 1984. The independent distributor of semiconductors and electronic components carries active components (microprocessors, memory chips), electromechanical components (fuses, relays), and passive components (capacitors, inductors). Services include excess inventory liquidation, component testing, and logistics support. The Ackerley brothers (currently directors of the company) own N.F. Smith, which operates from more than a dozen offices worldwide.