Anoosheh Oskouian owns and operates a business that manufactures and sells pollution abatement and control equipment for plastic processors and other industrial manufacturers needing to meet stringent air quality rules and regulations.
She is president and CEO of Ship & Shore Environmental Inc. of Signal Hill, Calif.
As a woman in a male-dominated industry, Oskouian chooses to stop hearing "no" as an answer.
"You constantly have to overcome obstacles," she said.
Oskouian, the firm's sole owner, describes it as "a family-oriented and hardworking company with a team of intelligent engineers and diligent salespeople all working towards the same goal: the betterment of the environment."
She offers sage advice to new employees.
"Be a team player, treat everyone with respect and build trust with your team members," she said. "Make sure you dream big, and make us a part of it."
Anoosheh Mostafaei was born in April 1963 in Tehran, Iran, and emigrated at age 14 to live with relatives in Colorado.
She took Advanced Placement high school courses, achieved membership in the National Honor Society and graduated from the University of Colorado with a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering.
She gravitated to California and, while working at the Southern California headquarters of Fluor Corp. subsidiary Fluor Daniel, pursued graduate engineering and business administration studies that Malibu-based Pepperdine University offered on the Fluor Daniel campus.
At Fluor Daniel, "Pete Patel was my mentor," she said.
Among her experiences, "While working as a process engineer for Fluor Daniel, I was the liaison engineer in charge of many engineers for a major Texaco project."
She left Fluor Daniel during an economic downturn and, in 1996, joined a company then operating as Ship & Shore Sheet Metal.
Soon her life changed. She married Alan Oskouian in 1998, and they have a 14-year-old son, Rod, now entering high school.
A bigger change occurred at the end of 1999 when the Ship & Shore Sheet Metal owner opted unexpectedly to close the business.
Oskouian scrambled to line up resources, acquire some of the old firm's relevant assets and, with John Van Bargen, start the business known today as Ship & Shore Environmental Inc.
Van Bargen is the firm's vice president and director of engineering.
Oskouian credits Van Bargen as another important mentor.
"We started the company together, and I have learned so much from him, whether it be personal or professional-related," she said.
Determination is important.
"I first became CEO in 2000 with the mindset and the goal to make the most of my education, my sacrifices and my risks and to do something that made a positive impact on the world."
Today, the product line ranges widely from regenerative thermal oxidizers to condensing boiler systems.
The plastics industry remains an important target market.
"When I started Ship & Shore, naturally I was one of the main sales and process engineers," Oskouian said. "I'm doing the same thing I did then: manufacturing pollution abatement equipment for companies in the plastics industry."
Recently, Ship & Shore established its Green Energy Industrial Solutions division to address global warming and carbon footprint reduction issues facing its clients. Strategies can involve alternative energy sources.
Ship & Shore employs 54 full time and recorded 2017 sales of $15.2 million. The projection for 2018 is $17.5 million.
Oskouian and others at Ship & Shore participate in the activities of multiple industry associations serving the plastics processing, flexographic printing and flexible packaging industries; exhibit at their trade shows; and often make technical presentations.
She is a member of an advisory committee on Best Available Control Technology for the Diamond Bar, Calif.-based South Coast Air Quality Management District.
The National Association of Women Business Owners initially certified Ship & Shore as a woman-owned entity in 2014.
As a volunteer, Oskouian is a founding member of the nonprofit Children's Hope International Literacy & Development organization to help displaced and underprivileged children. Also, she is a board member of the Pacific Symphony orchestra in Costa Mesa, Calif., and supports its Youth Ensembles training program.
About her legacy, Oskouian said; "A life is not worth living if you have not impacted another life in a positive way. This is why I strive to give and do as much as I can, which is never enough, but an action in the right direction."