Monday, December 04, 2006

Hamid Behdad - Adaptive Reuse Czar And Mr. Downtown To Leave Public Service!

I just received the below email:

Dear Recipients,

Attached, please see my FINAL announcement. Thank you.

Hamid Behdad, PE
Office of Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa
200 N Spring Street, 13th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Hamid will be grealy missed by everyone who cares about this city. He has been one of those too few at City Hall who want to know how things can get done as opposed to finding reasons why things can not be done.

Below is his announcement:

Born on Christmas Day of 1956 to a Muslim family in Iran, Hamid Behdad was raised to be different but understanding and respectful of others. Growing up in a middle-class family, he learned ambitions from his mother, integrity from his late father, and competitiveness from growing up with five brothers.

Working from the first semester of college in September of 1975, Hamid realized that for a son of a middle-class family of eight – where kids were limited to a couple pairs of shoes each New Year and new clothes as a reward for good grades in school –there is no magic way tosucceed except to work hard.

Life experiences from the Iranian monarchy of Shah, the religious regime of the Ayatollah, as well as the devastating era of the Iraq-Iran War, had influenced Hamid to seek a different life abroad. Leaving 29 years of fond memories from his home country, as well as his loving family,he decided to test his “motherly-taught” ambitions by seeking a new life in the “land of opportunity”, the United States of America.

As a testament to his competitive nature, his first ordeal came in the form of a 2-year long fight with the Islamic Regime for his passport, followed by a 42-day long mission to convince the American Embassy in Germany to grant him a student visa for entering the United States.

Landing in Seattle Airport in a rainy October day in 1985 with nothing more than two suitcases in hand, less than $5,000 cash, and not knowing one complete sentence of English, Hamid began his American adventure! The day after his arrival he immediately started studying English at Eastern Washington University, Cheney, Washington.

On June 2, 1986, Hamid flew to the City of Brookings, South Dakota to start his graduate studies at South Dakota State University (SDSU) – the only school willing to give him a “conditional” admission – where he would also earn a Master’s Degree with a 4.0 GPA in Engineering.

In spite of his relatively successful academic accomplishments, his intense job-hunting efforts proved to be fruitless. Having sent over 150 resumes and job-request packages to every known company in the U.S., Hamid struggled as he was not offered even one single interview. God, however, works in mysterious ways.

In 1988, Los Angeles County held campus interviews for recruiting engineering graduates at SDSU, where Hamid scored 97 (of 100) in the first interview of his life. Accordingly, Hamid was offered a position with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works in Alhambra, California.

Without any other viable options, Hamid made his way to California. In May 5, 1989, while packing everything he owned into a 1975 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme (purchased for $620 in the City of Ann Arbor, Michigan), Hamid took his chances by driving for the first time in his life on US highways and freeways for a 2000-mile trip from South Dakota to Los Angeles, California.

Arriving in LA with $250 of debt on his Citibank credit card, Hamid started his new career by working as a Civil Engineer Assistant at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works.

In December of 1989, Hamid accepted an offer from the Department of Building and Safety in the City of Los Angeles to work in the field of structural engineering, a field he was passionate about. His passions would shift later after being selected to work in the Economic Development Offices of LA City Mayors Richard J. Riordan, followed by Mayor James K. Hahn, and most recently under the leadership of Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa.

Hamid realized his passion was about being in the center of action, where he had the ability – and was given the opportunity – to make things happen. Over the last seven years, it was this passion, augmented by genuine hard work and motivation that provided Hamid with the ingredients necessary for making a difference in cultivating the implementation of the City’s Adaptive Reuse Program.

The program has since realized the completion of 4,252 loft units, and promises 4,100 units that are currently under construction, followed by an additional 3,200 units in the development pipeline. The program is responsible for an estimated $6 billion in stimulated economic investments and has been a tremendous boon for the City, as well as a personally gratifying experience for Hamid - the proclaimed Adaptive Reuse “Czar”.

Ladies and gentlemen, after an outstanding 17 years of working for the great City of
Los Angeles, it is time for me to move on. My years of service with the City have been perhaps the most fulfilling 17 years of my life, and now at the age of 50 I am still motivated – and like to assume that I have the ambitions - to continue my career in the private sector.

God willing, I will survive this one too - wish me luck, and thank you very much for your support throughout all these years.

Finally, and as a token of my appreciation to the great City of Angels - as well as the Adaptive Reuse Program that provided me with the opportunity to be the “Czar”
- I would like to offer my FREE consultation services to all of those who are currently in the process of developing an Adaptive Reuse project.

So long everybody.

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