Business Name: Resource International, Inc., an engineering consulting company
Type of Business: Other — Engineering Consulting
Business Location: Columbus, Ohio, United States
Reason for starting
With my two youngest children off at school, I wanted to take on a new challenge and was exploring many business opportunities. My husband, Kamran Majidzadeh, a professor at The Ohio State University, was invited to present a paper at the second International Conference on Pavement Design, held in London, England in 1972. I attended the conference with him, and was fascinated by the new state-of-the-art, non-destructive, and non-intrusive pavement testing technologies being developed in Europe at the time. Upon return from the conference, Kamran had begun to do research on the first generation of a pavement testing equipment called Dynaflect and was exploring its application in road maintenance. He was keeping the new equipment in our home garage at the time, and I had decided I would like to market the product. On my very own stationary, I sent out typed letters to various clients, hoping for one or two responses of interest. Just two weeks later, I had my first two clients who were interested in the innovative equipment. With these contracts in tow, I quickly launched a small technology firm, Resource International, Inc., from the basement of my family home with the unique capability of diagnosing the conditions of pavements. Resource International, Inc. was developed with the notion that innovation is everything, and that to succeed and prosper as a company, you must stay on top of the trends and latest technology. Our company started as a niche research and development firm, and has grown to a multi-million dollar company during the last 40 years due to innovative techniques, methods and equipment. I truly believe that the day you stop learning and believing in these innovations, you and your company are en route of failure. I wholeheartedly believe in the need to always move forward, and I lead my company in the same manner. Innovation is our past and our future.
How do you define success?
Hard work, loving what I do, and learning from mistakes are the cornerstone and the key to my success. I think my ability to embrace innovations, respond to changes, and accept disappointments are also part of my success – and as always, to dream of possibilities. My husband once told me, “focus on what you are doing, stay on course, and never give up.”
The biggest success and the most rewarding part about my work is that I am responsible for creating such a positive work environment for my staff, many of which have been with me for their entire career.
What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
I have faced many obstacles during the past 40 years; the largest of which was the hostile banking situation from 2007-2009. The challenges of this period were quite different for the company than they had been in the past. While the business environment required the normal challenges of a typical recession: diversification; outreach to greater client pool; more innovation; cutting back expenses, etc.; as a small business, firms like mine no longer had the support of a friendly banker. Across the globe, bankers were threatening small businesses by cutting off their line of credit and destroying striving organizations. I unfortunately also faced this challenge. Leaving our long time banker, we overcame this obstacle by finding a new banker who believed and supported small businesses. Honesty and a strong relationship between a small business and their banker are vital to overall success.
Who is your most important role model?
My employees are my role models. Seeing my employees dedicated to their work and working hard – that by itself is motivation for me. Every leader should make time to listen to their employees, because it motivates them to work hard too. Again, as my husband said, “focus on what you are doing, stay on course, and never give up.” When you work with your family and in a work environment with a lot of families that depend on you, then that becomes your primary source of inspiration. My husband has also been my source inspiration as well.