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Admiral Abolfath Ardalan

Admiral Abolfath Ardalan, Ph.D. was born in Iran on Oct. 21, 1929, the sixth child of Amanollah Ardalan and Roshanak Salour. The Ardalan family was one of the most prominent Kurdish families in Iran, and when Abolfath Ardalan was born, his father was governor of Gorgan. Growing up, Abolfath Ardalan attended numerous schools throughout the country, due to his father’s various governmental posts.

After completing high school, Ardalan began his education at the Institute of Technology in Tehran. However, his passion for the recently established Iranian Naval forces inspired him to join the Iranian Imperial Navy, making him one of the first Iranian students to travel to England to continue his studies in the field of electrical engineering.

Upon returning to Iran and beginning his post in the Iranian Navy, Ardalan married Mahvash Amirshahi on July 29, 1956. The young couple moved to the United States in 1963 to allow Ardalan to complete his studies at the U.S. Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey, Calif. He earned his master’s degree in engineering, as well as a second bachelor’s degree in mathematics, and he and his wife returned to Iran in 1967.

In 1973, Ardalan was chosen by the Shah to become managing director and founder of Iran Electronics Industry (IEI), a company that employed over 3,000 people. Headquartered in Tehran, IEI also had a high technology manufacturing plant and research facility in Shiraz. Since many of his employees were American, Ardalan decided to build an American school in Shiraz for their children. This helped him to attract top talent from around the world, contributing to the major success of IEI, which still operates in Iran today.

After the Iranian revolution in 1979, Ardalan and his family migrated to the United States and purchased a home in Vienna. Despite his substantial education and experience, Ardalan took a job as an engineer at Westinghouse, commuting 50 miles to Columbia, Md. for over 10 years. Friends and family said Ardalan never once complained about his dramatic change in situation, and had no issue with starting his career again. While working at Westinghouse, Ardalan went back to school to continue his studies and received a doctor of science degree in engineering management from George Washington University in 1993.

During the last years of his life, Ardalan ran his own consulting business and also taught as an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland University College and Catholic University. He enjoyed teaching and developed close relationships with many of his students, helping them with their personal work and business ventures, as well as their studies.

Ardalan is survived by his wife Mahvash, their two sons, Faroukh Ardalan of Vienna and Babak Ardalan of Calif., and their daughter Roshan Alavi of Great Falls, as well as six grandchildren.