Michael Mahdesian served for seven years (1993-2000) as the Deputy Assistant Administrator for USAID’s Bureau of Humanitarian Response. His main duties included overseeing the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) and the Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI). During this period, he was integrally involved in shaping USAID’s response to Haiti, Rwanda, Bosnia, Kosovo, Indonesia, and other crisis spots around the world. Mr. Mahdesian led the first U.S. assessment team to the Democratic Republic of Congo after the fall of Mobutu, and played a key role in helping shape the U.S. assistance program there. He participated in USAID’s Bosnia Task Force as coordinator of the humanitarian and transition programs for Bosnia. In addition, Mr. Mahdesian has chaired several U.S. Interagency Task Forces on improving U.S. and International Response to Complex Humanitarian Emergencies.
Mr. Mahdesian was formerly Executive Director of the United Armenian Fund’s airlift to the earthquake victims in Armenia. A native of California, Mahdesian earned a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning with a focus on International Development from UCLA in 1981. A longtime Democratic activist, Mahdesian went on to Washington where he served as Special Assistant to Rep. Tony Coelho and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (1983-85). He spent seven years running a successful business in Los Angeles, and in 1992 served as a Deputy Campaign Manager for the Clinton/Gore campaign in California.
Mr. Mahdesian is currently Chairman of the Board of Servicon Systems, Inc. a large facility maintenance business based in Los Angeles with 1800 employees. Servicon services the aerospace, health care, and commercial sectors. Since becoming Chairman, Servicon has tripled its growth (now $70 million in revenue), and in 2008 was one of Inc. Magazine’s top 5,000 fastest growing companies in the U.S. In 2009 Servicon was ranked by the L.A. Business Journal as one of the Best Places to Work.
Since returning from Washington, DC to Los Angeles, Mr. Mahdesian has been in many civic roles in Los Angeles. He recently served as a Los Angeles City Planning Commissioner for four years. He is on the Board of Advisors at UCLA’s School of Public Affairs, and is on the Executive Board of the Los Angeles Business Council. He has also kept active in international affairs with his involvement as Chairman of the Board of Operation USA, a humanitarian NGO, and Board member of the Democracy Council, which works on democracy and governance programs in selected countries. He is also a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy.