With UV CAN’s one-year anniversary coming up, we wanted to introduce and interview the founders, Mehdi Russel (President), and Mehrdad Behnami (CEO).
In the interview, Mehdi and Mehrdad will be sharing about their unique work backgrounds, how they got involved in the UV light industry, and a little bit about living in Vancouver!
What is your work background?
Mehrdad: I am an Electrical Engineer graduated from Kansas State University in 1981. I served in the Air Force as a Service Engineer, and worked for Iran Air as a Radio Engineer for 2 years. Then I joined a private company specialized in Electronic Test & Measuring instruments and components which is what I am still doing for the past 32 years.
Mehdi: My background is medicine but mostly focusing on health planning and management working with UN agencies.
What was your first job in Canada?
Mehrdad: I have only worked for myself in the past 30 years plus. I have tried several businesses in Canada since we came here, mostly related to electricity or electronics. The last one was a lighting business which I started with two other friends. When COVID hit we tried a little bit of PPE right at the beginning.
Mehdi: As a first job in Canada, after having my own consulting company, I got involved in a medical device company called Ondine Bio Medical as the VP of International Sales. From there, I got more experience and knowledge about disinfection using light sources, and learned how it might affect people’s life without using antibiotics.
What inspired you to get into the UV light industry?
Mehdi: Viruses and microbes are becoming more and more sophisticated, and the current research is not advancing at the pace needed to make enough antibiotics to fight against them. There are alternative ways to keep up including photodynamic therapy and UV. After COVID, based on my background, I thought that UV might be a good solution so that’s where we decided to focus. After researching and talking to my partner, we decided to get involved in this business using UV to fight against infection spread.
Mehrdad: Later as an extension to the lighting business we ended up starting the UV business in very early 2020. My partners decided to quit the UV business during the lockdown. Shortly after that, Mehdi and I got together and decided to carry on.
What is your favorite UV light device?
Mehdi: My favourite UV light device is the air purifier called Tulip 2. The UV-C light is contained within the air purifier and does a good job at killing all the bugs that are contaminating the air. This is a very good way of controlling infection spread.
Mehrdad: Cosmos Wall Mount is my favorite product because I know how effective and safe it is. And it looks pretty slick so we have gotten it certified.
What is your favourite thing to do in Vancouver?
Mehdi: Vancouver has got a lot of really nice nature. I love hiking and I’m not missing a single week to be out in beautiful nature hiking and jogging. And of course as summertime is approaching and getting hot, jumping and swimming in the nice cold lakes here. That’s fantastic.
Mehrdad: Walking the sea wall, hiking in the forest, swimming in the ocean, lakes and rivers, and dining out.