Today we’d like to introduce you to Mahvash Armand, President of Armand Consulting, Inc.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Mahvash. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I grew up in Iran in a large family with four brothers and two sisters. My parents taught me and my siblings from an early age that we could achieve anything that we set our mind to. While in high school in 1973, I became the first Iranian woman to win a gold medal at the Asian Fencing Championships. The next year, I won gold and silver medals at the 1974 Asian Olympic Games. I went on to participate in the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal on the Iranian women’s fencing team. I came to the US to continue my education and graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering.
After working for more than 20 years in different roles, including Fortune 500 Engineering Firms, I decided to start my own consulting firm to give me the opportunity to implement my own vision. Now, as the President of Armand Consulting, Inc., I have over 30 years of experience in leading and executing large, multi-disciplinary projects, including state-of-the-art technology system design solutions and applications.
During the last 10 years, we have provided consulting and engineering services on major transit-oriented projects across the country. Our clients include but aren’t limited to Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), Metro in Los Angeles, CalTrain and BART in San Francisco, Sound Transit in Seattle and MARTA in Atlanta. ACI has offices in Issaquah, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, and is headquartered in Dallas. We provide engineering/design, systems safety and security certification, quality assurance and other services to such industries as rail and transit, water and utilities and education. We are known for our innovative, quality, and practical approach on projects.
I am a Licensed Professional Engineer, maintaining multi-state Professional Engineering registrations and a PMI Project Management Professional. I am a member of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) and Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO). I have been a speaker and panelist for various COMTO events including National Convention, and Youth Symposium. As a professional, entrepreneur, and a woman, I’m proud to have recently been awarded the Luna Outstanding Executive of the Year Award, which recognizes a woman senior executive in construction, architecture, or engineering.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
While it has been extremely rewarding and exciting to grow the business and implement my vision, it has not been an easy road. Starting your own business is not easy and takes determination. I was prepared and knew I needed to wear multiple hats for years until there was enough equity in the business to bring in more support.
Every small business needs to have the necessary capital to be able to survive and cash flow is key to our survival since we typically wait several months for payment on our work. Another obstacle we face is competing for projects against large firms. Without having the government programs and rules and regulations to help small businesses, we wouldn’t be able to participate in large projects that can sometimes be monopolized by massive conglomerates.
Marketing also plays a huge role in the success or failure of a business such as ours. Our approach to Marketing at ACI is to have repeat clients. We achieve this through listening to our clients and providing them solutions that fit their specific needs. We can’t outspend our competition, but we have control over the quality of our work, that is how our small business can compete in today’s marketplace.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Armand Consulting, Inc. – what should we know?
Our Mission is to deliver high-quality solutions that truly fit the needs of our clients and to ensure that all projects are completed in a timely and budget-conscious manner. Our vision is to deliver professional, superior quality and innovative standards for our clients. I want women to know that they can do whatever they want to do – including excelling in engineering and other STEM-related fields.
I want to help minorities gain confidence in the STEM and perhaps discover their own desire for engineering. I regularly mentor interns, students and my own employees, the majority of whom are women. The part I really, really love the best is seeing how transit agencies have given people opportunities to start right out of high school. Transit doesn’t just move us back and forth – it also provides a career pathway and advances entire neighborhoods.
I’ve watched mass transit transform a blighted neighborhood in Dallas to an iconic place with high rise buildings and restaurants. And that’s why I love, love transit. When I see that it is planned right, it not only connects people and places… it can uplift neighborhoods and bring jobs, businesses, and a sense of community spirit to an area.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I grew up in a family of four brothers and two sisters, and there was no difference in our house between genders. I was encouraged to set goals and go after my dreams. I knew I had the support of my family and just needed to do the work to achieve my dreams.
I watched my father build bridges as part of his construction company, which inspired me to study engineering at the University of Southern California as an international student where I earned my Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering, with 3.9 GPA (Magna Cum Laude). I continued taking higher level classes in computer engineering, software programming and Communications Systems at Shiraz University at Shiraz, Iran and Wilkes University at Wilkes Barre- PA.