After being elected as Vice Chair for the Maryland Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors, we sat down with Amir Ahmadzadeh to learn more about him, what inspires him to be involved with the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, and what he hopes to accomplish in the years to come.
What inspired you to get involved with the Maryland Chamber of Commerce?
Initially, Misty Allen, Vice President of Government and Community Affairs at Comcast NBC Universal and the current Board Chair for the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, and Steve Woerner, former president of BG&E, introduced me to the Chamber and encouraged my participation. As I got to know the Maryland Chamber of Commerce and its members, I developed a deep appreciation for its crucial work and the impact it has on the business community. The diversity of programs and collaborative strength of businesses coming together motivated me to become more engaged.
From your perspective, why is it important for businesses with interests in Maryland to be involved in the Maryland Chamber of Commerce’s efforts to advocate for better policies and an environment that promotes job creation?
Being involved in the Chamber of Commerce allows businesses to make a difference in shaping policies and creating an environment that promotes job creation. In general, I see this as similar to the right to vote — If businesses have a stake in Maryland or are passionate about their community, they need to speak up and take action. By advocating for a more business-friendly environment, we can ensure that Maryland remains competitive and attractive for businesses and talent. The Maryland Chamber of Commerce brings together diverse businesses to policies that benefit the entire state. It’s about creating a business-friendly environment that leads to job creation, economic development, and an improved quality of life for all residents.
How do you see Maryland businesses serving their community? What is EXP doing to effect positive change in Maryland?
Maryland businesses play a vital role in serving their communities by creating jobs and fostering economic sustainability. They are integral to a thriving community.
Importantly, though, with Maryland’s proximity to so many competitive regions including Washington, D.C. and Virginia, it becomes really important to find innovative ways to ensure our state is competitive and retaining the businesses and people who make our communities so vibrant.
To effect positive change in Maryland, EXP has been actively partnering with local colleges and universities to attract and retain fresh graduates. We believe that providing a positive first experience out of college is crucial for attracting and keeping talent in the state. We have also established a robust training and mentorship program to support our employees.
As a business, we are committed to Maryland and have plans to expand our operations by opening offices in Montgomery County and Prince George. We recognize the importance of investing in the state’s human capital, retaining local talent, and attracting talent from other parts of the country to strengthen Maryland’s workforce.
What are some of the key challenges that you see businesses facing in Maryland, and what work needs to be done to address or overcome those challenges?
The competition Maryland faces in attracting businesses and residents presents both challenges and opportunities. People are willing to commute or relocate for better opportunities, and as businesses evaluate where they want to invest, they are looking for the most competitive and supportive environments as well.
To address this, we need to focus on being competitive and finding innovative ways to retain businesses and attract talent. By comparing ourselves to surrounding areas, we can strive for excellence.
Collaboration among diverse businesses in Maryland is essential to effect meaningful change and overcome resource limitations, and with the tremendous people involved in the Maryland Chamber of Commerce — leaders from all types of businesses with the know-how to make positive changes — so I am optimistic about our ability to prioritize and achieve our goals. The key is to commit, collaborate, and work together to overcome the limitations of resources. It will require effort, but I believe we can make a difference and see the impact of our work in the near future.
Looking ahead, what do you hope to accomplish during your tenure as Vice Chair of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, and what positive changes do you aspire to bring to the business community?
As Vice Chair, I aim to increase representation and involvement of the architecture and engineering industry within the Maryland Chamber of Commerce. Just like colleagues of mine encouraged me to get involved in the work the organization is doing, I want to encourage more individuals to get involved and advocate for a more business-friendly environment.
Additionally, I want to focus on proactive initiatives, such as introducing bills and working with lawmakers before the legislative session begins, to address challenges that businesses in the state face. By prioritizing these efforts and working together with the Maryland Chamber of Commerce staff, Board President Misty Allen, and the board of directors, we can make a significant impact.
Can you share a little-known fact about yourself?
Before moving to the United States, I had the honor of being selected as one of the 16 individuals to represent the Iranian national tennis team. Tennis has always been a significant part of my life, and I had aspirations of becoming a professional player when I arrived in the States. I dedicated my summers to intense training in Florida, but eventually, I realized that I wasn’t at the level needed to pursue a career in tennis. Nevertheless, I am known to be a decent tennis player and continue to enjoy the sport.
Do you have a motto or words to live by that guides you in your personal and professional life?
Fairness and honesty are principles that I live by. Throughout my journey in the United States, I faced challenges and witnessed instances where fairness and honesty were lacking. Creating a fair and honest environment for our employees is something I strive for every day.
We’re looking forward to benefiting from Amir’s leadership, experience and enthusiasm as he takes on the role of Vice Chair.
Amir Ahmadzadeh is an accomplished professional with 16+ years of experience in the Architecture and Engineering industries. As EXP’s Vice President of Operations in the Mid-Atlantic region, he has successfully overseen and delivered numerous infrastructure projects for variety of commercial, private, institutional, municipal, and government clients. Previously, as the Manager of Construction and Field Operations Support Division for Washington Gas Light, he oversaw operations in 70 permitting jurisdictions within Washington Gas’s service territory.
Amir’s commitment to the business community is evident through his recent appointment as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, where he plays a pivotal role advocating for policies and initiatives that enhance Maryland’s competitiveness and create a more favorable business environment.