As the President & CEO of the multi-million dollar corporation Ship & Shore Environmental, Anoosheh Oskouian is a distinct energy in the environmental engineering industry. Oskouian’s chemical engineering background and expertise provides the foundation for designing superior, innovative, and efficient technologies that help the manufacturing industry control, reduce, and abate air pollution emissions while cleaning the air.
Her reputation and proven success in the pollution control industry stemmed from her passion to shed a positive light in the world. As a thriving Iranian woman business owner in a male-dominated field, Oskouian is an empowering voice and role model to any one faced with limitations. In an effort to collaborate, exchange best practices, and engage with intellectuals, Oskouian has established a congruous relation with UC Irvine.
What is your involvement with UCI today?
I am a member of UCI’s Dean’s Leadership Council for both the School of Physical Sciences and the Samueli School of Engineering. Being involved with these UCI associations has allowed me to network with thought leaders and experts in the same community that share the same passion and interests as I do. I am also a part of the UCI Chief Executive Roundtable which includes distinguished individuals from various companies that bring innovation and put the school at the forefront of technical know-how.
How and when did you know you wanted to be an engineer?
I have known since I met my junior high chemistry teacher in Iran. He constantly challenged me and that inspired me to fall in love with the subject. My passion for chemistry continued when I came to the U.S. for high school and then studied chemical engineering at a university. I knew I wanted to apply my education to the oil and gas sector since Iran is full of refineries. I thought it would be interesting to work in that industry back home, but then the revolution happened and I was not able to go back – so here I am!
Who were your mentors throughout your career and how did they help you?
Before he became by business partner at Ship & Shore, John Von Bargen started out as my mentor. I was working as a chemical engineer at Fluor Daniel when I had met John and then switched gears over to the environmental side for air pollution control equipment. His technical knowledge in pollution control technology naturally made him someone I looked up to. As our current VP of Engineering, he is still someone I turn to for technical advice. Also, Pete Patel whom I met while working at Fluor Daniel gave me insight on the corporate side of things.
Describe your biggest challenge as a CEO.
Managing people. Keeping the balance between growth and bringing on people that can share my vision and be as enthusiastic and committed to doing great things for the Earth is not easy. Every day we go into work and design, engineer, fabricate, and sell equipment that is benefitting the environment, the community, and people – it’s empowering. Finding people that have a sense of pride regarding our work is the main challenge as well as a motivating factor. Take ownership of everything that you do.
What are some of your challenges and rewards working in the environmental industry?
Staying true to ethical and honorable business practices is a challenge in this industry. More often than we should, we come across competition that go through such unethical measures to win a project. I always encourage my team to stay true to our mission and honor our ethics because that is something no one can take from you and will go a long way. And I do love a healthy competition!
I wake up every morning and compare the air that I breathe with any other human in a more polluted country, such as China or India. The reward comes with doing the job and knowing that the systems we install are contributing towards the betterment of the environment and future generations. There are no aerial boundaries, so the health crisis in one polluted area eventually becomes all of our health crisis.
What has been your proudest moment so far?
Opening up Ship & Shore Environmental and watching it grow. Combining the entrepreneurial side along with my two passions: chemical engineering and pollution prevention. Installing the very first Ship & Shore system was also such a moving moment for me.
You serve as a mentor for young women in science and engineering: What advice would you like to give to them?
We can always use more women in STEM. Stay true to your inner voice of going out there and never letting anyone make you feel any less because you are a woman in a male-dominated field.
- Anoosheh Oskouian, President & CEO, Ship & Shore Environmental