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Alumni Profile: Omid Parhizkar

Aug. 15, 2011 – Omid Parhizkar (’08 Ph.D. in forest products marketing and management) recently stepped into a new position with the World Bank — just a part of the career success he has already experienced since joining the organization in 2008. He credits his early success to his motto of never saying no to an opportunity. “You have to look for what you’re hungry for,” he affirmed. “Then you just have to be persistent in your goals.”

That persistence is what Parhizkar claims has given him the ability to be successful. It led him to leave his native country of Iran to pursue a higher education; he eventually came to Virginia Tech to earn his doctorate. For eight years, he was unable to visit his family because of student visa restrictions, but opportunities continued to present themselves, and his persistence grew stronger.

“I worked on a number of projects, mostly international development for natural resources, with a focus on renewable energy and private sector development,” he recalled. “Working on those projects helped me reach a new level of effectiveness and credibility in this arena.”

After completing his doctorate, Parhizkar joined the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC), where he was part of a larger global financial and industry specialist team that developed IFC strategy related to climate change and sustainable development. His expertise in climate change led him to his current position as a monitoring analyst with the organization’s Global Environment Facility (GEF), a multilateral financial mechanism that provides sustainable development funds to recipient countries.

“My new job includes helping program teams facilitate their operations and business strategies for projects related to biodiversity, climate change, and sustainable forest management,” he explained. His team at the GEF has about $5 billion in grants currently under implementation, including over 500 projects across the globe. “The World Bank is a fantastic working environment. I work with a very diverse group, and at the same time, I see what’s happening around the world.”

Working for the World Bank has gotten Parhizkar’s career off to a great start, but he continues his professional development outside the office as well. He is an adjunct faculty member in Virginia Tech’s National Capital Region, teaching a course entitled Sustainability, Clean Energy, and Climate Change for International Development. “I enjoy teaching because it gives me the opportunity to give back the experience that I have learned.”

Although Parhizkar is happy with his current professional career, he is unsure about what the future holds for him. “I would love to be an effective contributor to help economic productivity with sustainable practices both nationally and internationally, in the area of natural resources,” he noted.

Perhaps that same persistence will lead him to do just that.

    CNRE Newsmagazine Summer 2011 Cover

Summer 2011

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