Member Spotlight

Ahmad Kian & Ehssan Taghizadeh—Apadana, Golden Valley


The Electrical Association is pleased to welcome a relatively new member, Ahmad Kian and Apadana. About 15 years ago, Ahmad's little daughter asked him what he's done for the future of our planet. He immediately went into action, changing his focus from his successful Fortune 100 career into how he can become a successful steward of the environment.

Kian said that every day since then he's put his focus on the elimination of waste. When the LED-lights market stabilized and prices came down, Kian and his friend Ehssan Taghizadeh partnered to start a business: Apadana, a Golden Valley-based LED lighting company that focuses on providing sustainable energy solutions in 2013.

Apadana has experienced tremendous growth, outgrowing two previous locations and working with major clients around the Twin Cities.

Apadana offers LED installation, retrofits, control systems, and energy consultations. Apadana Solar Technologies was added when John Ehresmann joined the team in 2017, expanding their sustainability business into solar energy, energy storage, and electric vehicle chargers.

Apadana & Apadana Solar are foundational members of the Go Green Technologies consortium, founded by Kian that work together to help deliver sustainable solutions to facility management.

Another member of the Go Green group, Clark Technology, is a Minneapolis-based firm that’s created a treatment mechanism that turns wastewater, including leachate, into reusable or even potable water. Leachate is water that is collected in landfills and acquires contaminant particles along the way. Most current treatments for it include transporting it to a wastewater treatment plant for limited contaminant treatment. 

The bad news is that “forever chemicals” continue to be diluted and sent into ground water sources. The good news is that Clark Technology has developed a process that turns any organic waste into gas or electrical power.

Kian says Clark has an answer for converting and diverting 95% of municipal solid waste (plastics, carpets, tires) that is landfilled into useable products and energy (fuel oil or diesel). After he initially learned of LeachBuster® and Waste Diversion– two of Clark Technology’s solutions—he
gained a renewed perspective regarding the country’s progress on eco-friendly alternatives.

“I feel for the first time that we are now moving from sustainability to ‘thrivability’,” said Kian. “When we go after sustainability, we are cutting ourselves short... Good enough is not good enough—we want to shoot for the moon.”

Kian was born in Iran and came to the U of M to study engineering, as did Taghizadeh. The company’s name refers to the Apadana Hall inside the palace at Persepolis, in ancient Persia, which faced the Silk Road, connecting east and west, and was viewed as a hallway to the future,” said Kian. They used that name to symbolize a gateway to the future of sustainability, now even better: thrivability.”