Iranian 2002 Recipient
The second of six children to immigrate from Teheran,Iran to America in 1960, Farah B. Majidzadeh, is also the second in her family to be awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor; her sister, Farah M. Walters, having won in 2001.
Busy raising two daughters and twin boys in the early 1970's,Farah became fascinated by her husband, Kamran, an engineering professor at Ohio State University's research on a revolutionary piece of equipment that could see below the surface of roads and collect data on their durability. Armed with a degree in nursing from a London university and some prior coursework in Business Management and Marketing, Farah immersed herself in the traditionally male-dominated engineering industry. As Chief Executive Officer and Chairperson of the Board of Resource International,Inc. (Rii), Farah built a company from corporate headquarters that began in her basement in 1973 into a broad-based, multi-disciplined, professional Engineering Consulting firm specializing in Construction Management, Information Technology, and planning and design of buildings and infrastructure projects valued in excess of one billion dollars annually. Today,the Columbus, Ohio-based corporate headquarters, its affiliate corporation ProjectGrid.com, founded and headed by Farah's son, Mark, and its branch offices throughout the Midwest and abroad employ nearly 200 engineers and professionals and list an impressive roster of former projects for the federal and state government, education, healthcare and sports and entertainment.
Both nationally and internationally recognized, Rii has consistently surpassed expectations with its achievements. The firm has repeatedly received widespread acclaim for its work. Rii's work on the Michael A. Fox Highway Project in Butler County,Ohio earned the International Road Federation's Global Road Achievement Award, as well as, the American Road and Transportation Builders Association and Transportation Development Foundation's 2000 Globe Award for Environmental Excellence, the Build America Award for the Best New Highway in America, the Excellence in Concrete Paving Award in Ohio and the Quality Asphalt Pavement Award in Ohio and to date remains one of the only Ohio projects of its size to be completed ahead of schedule.
Amid her firm's success,Farah has been nominated and inducted into the Ohio Women's Hall of Fame in 2000 by Governor Bob Taft, twice-recognized as a Small Business Person of the Year Finalist, a Master Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist, nominated for Excellence in Enterprise, and awarded the executive order of the Ohio Commodores for promoting business from the State of Ohio.
In 1984,Ms. Majidzadeh was appointed to the Board of Directors of the International Road Federation (IRF), a 1000-member, non-profit transportation organization with membership in 75 countries, which addresses national and international transportation issues and provides technology, financial resources and expertise to government and private industries. Ms. Majidzadeh was also elected to one of fifteen Executive Director positions on the Executive Committee of the IRF, and served as a member of various task forces and committees of the IRF. As of February 2001, Ms. Majidzadeh was elected as a Vice-Chairman of the International Road Federation. In addition,since 1990, Ms. Majidzadeh has served as Chairperson of the International Road Education Foundation's, (IREF), Future Fund, a non-profit, international organization, which funds higher education scholarships for citizens of third world countries. She is currently a member of the Task Force on Educational Programs at U.S. Colleges for IREF Fellows, and is serving on the committee managing IREF conferences and business activities.
Additionally,Farah is a member of the National Council of Ohio Women, the Columbus Women Executives Committee, the Columbus Chamber of Commerce, the Children's Defense Fund, the Columbus Coalition Against Violence, the American Institute of Architecture, the American Council of Independent Laboratories, and a member of the MBA Advisory Board for Otterbein College.
Over the course of her thirty years in the industry,Farah has committed herself to a single tenet of always pursuing quality over quantity, be it in her hiring practices or on the projects on which Rii provides services. Her determination to find the best engineers for her staff has turned Rii into a melting pot of cultures, ethnicities and religions and has proven itself to be a firm tool for success. Likewise, she has also realized the need for a company to take calculated risks in order to grow. This has included her marketing of Rii on an international level and delving into business relationships in markets often overlooked by American-based corporations. Her firm's work internationally has been groundbreaking, particularly in the field of highway management.
Demonstrative of her pride in her Iranian roots, Farah has strived to develop solid business relationships with Middle Eastern countries even under the most challenging circumstances. Forced at times to work around international conflicts, she has continued to maintain working relationships with Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. In 1982 Rii teamed with companies from Greece and Saudi Arabia, to develop a Highway Maintenance Management System for the entire transportation network of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. To date, no other system of its sort has been achieved by any company in the world and Farah remains one of the only women in the world to actively conduct business in the Ministry of Saudi Arabia.
After close to three decades at the helm of Rii Farah's hands-on presence in every aspect of the company continues to set the bar higher for her staff and competitors as she insists a personal touch be brought into a field often dominated by science alone. Whether working on highways,universities, correctional facilities or hospitals, Farah demands that her staff tailor its project approach specifically to the type of project and industry being served. This unyielding regard to the specific needs of each client has facilitated Rii's impact on the engineering industry,as well as, the industries of her clients. Having designed a centralized database and project-management website for the Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC),Rii and its affiliate, ProjectGrid.com have enabled the OSFC to effectively manage close to 400 projects -totaling $3.5 billion in construction. Their work earned Rii/ProjectGrid.com and the OSFC the 2001 Vision Award from Constructech magazine for recognizing the advantages and excelling at implementing modern technology into their industry.
Today,she finds the greatest rewards outside of the office with her family: husband and business partner, Kamran, their four children, Stasia, Marcia, Todd and Mark, and seven grandchildren. Never resting on her impressive track record,Farah B. Majidzadeh continues to expand Rii, offering more of herself to the growing number of charities with which she is involved and tackling new challenges on a daily basis. Her resolve to maintain the highest level of quality in her firm and her work holds strong and she continues to greet every obstacle with the same conviction that she brought into the industry thirty years ago. With steadfast faith that in the end even the worst predicaments will be resolved,Farah has guided Resource International, Inc. up and over numerous hills promising herself and her company that she will never forget the tough times lest they be repeated.