Architect-turned-disruptor, Fasha Mahjoor is a renowned visionary celebrated widely for his success in driving critical transformation across a number of life sciences verticals. Around here, he is better known as the architect of Phenomenex, and former colleagues hold his warmth, humor, and passion near and dear to their hearts.
As Phenomenex’s founder and former CEO, Fasha’s unique background laid the foundation for the company’s unlikely story and larger-than-life evolution.
An architect by education, Fasha once had ambitions to be the next Frank Lloyd Wright—and many will tell you he had the skillset and ambition to make a name for himself in the field. But, after seven years in architecture school, a successful thesis, and a great GPA, Fasha graduated from the University of Southern California into a challenging real estate market.
It was the early 80s. Rob, an old friend from England, visited Fasha in California and presented him with an entrepreneurial opportunity: “Fasha, America is the land of milk and honey, and you say architecture is going nowhere right now. What do you think about pursuing chromatography?”
Against all odds, Fasha decided to give it a go and started making sales for Rob in the U.S. He discovered a previously untapped skillset within himself and a timely opportunity to build a foundation for chromatography in the U.S.
During the initial few years as a distributor, Fasha and the small team devoured massive amount of industry knowledge, steadily grew the business, and saved every penny, with Fasha not even taking a salary for himself during the initial six years. At this point it was clear to Fasha that if Phenomenex was to have future, it must not rely on products from third parties. The company would need to develop its own products and novel technologies. With that goal in mind Fasha took the company independent. Armed with a laser focused attention, he plunged every penny and all focus into people, science, R&D and manufacturing, beginning a 40-year Phenomenex love affair with developing its own innovations, novel technologies and unique culture, with a constant eye and immense drive on becoming the market leader while also having a major impact on humanity.
“After six months, I realized this couldn’t be done half-heartedly,” said Fasha. “From then onwards, I plunged into it with everything I had. And, really, I can say that was my journey for the next 34 years with Phenomenex—seven days per week, 365 days per year—and every year the company progressed.”