Personal stories of the triumph of the American Dream abound throughout history; the inspiring ones chronicle a “rags-to-riches” story where a hero rises from nothing to the apex of success. Not too often, however, do we hear the reverse– the “riches-to rags” story where the subject protagonist gets stomped on by an incredible ‘Hulk-like’ disaster, but through vision, hard work and perseverance ultimately climaxes in monumental success. One of Las Vegas’ own residents, Sha Rezai, has one of the most interesting stories we have come across.
Sha Rezai has been one of Las Vegas’ most entrepreneurial businessmen for the last 20 years. We’ll get to that part in a bit. The chapter that pops the most is what happened to his family in 1979, in his birth country, Iran. Pre 1979, the Rezai family founded many of Iran’s most prized industries- from the nation’s first steel mill factory, to heavy machinery production, to one of the only beer brewery’s in the Middle East, to the world’s largest copper mine- just to name a few.
During the rule of the pro-American Shah of Iran, the Rezai family businesses were growing exponentially and the family conglomerate had become a multi-billion dollar empire. Mr. Rezai’s father was also the Vice-Prime Minister and his uncle a Senator. By the mid 1970’s, the family’s combined wealth was into the billions. Little did the Rezai Family realize that everything they had worked for and built over many decades was to become obliterated by one sudden thrust of a revolutionary sword, disguised as a religious revolution by zealot extremists that overthrew 2500 years of Monarchy. Because of their status and relationship with the Royal family, the Iranian revolution stole everything from Mr. Rezai and his family, leaving them in exile with just a small fraction of what they were once worth.
Unbeknownst to most Americans still to this day, the People’s Iran, especially Iran pre-1979, was the most pro-Western, pro-American country on the continent of Asia; certainly in the sector defined as the Middle-East and was known as United States closest ally. America was all the hope that Sha Rezai could look towards for his future.
Attending Beloit College in Wisconsin and the University of Houston for a master’s degree in business, Mr. Rezai set out from scratch to build a new future. He’s been actively involved in a host of businesses including the manufacturing of nutritional supplements, electronics, and real estate. Mr. Rezai selected Las Vegas, his favorite city in the world, as the city of choice to rebuild his family’s future.
Though business is his forte, the sport of soccer has always been his passion. At Beloit College, Mr. Rezai will forever be the college’s all-time-career high scorer and single-season high scorer in the original 12-game season format. Now he is combining his business acumen and passion for soccer as President & General Manager of the new 85,000 square foot indoor soccer and sports complex called Longevity Sports Center. “Soccer is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States and at the LSC we are attracting both sexes, young and old. Our Lil Kicker’s developmental program for children ages 2-9 is one of the programs that I am most proud of because we are making a positive, healthy mark in the lives of young people,” commented Mr. Rezai. “We have just partnered up with FC Barcelona, one of the most popular clubs in the world and home of Messi, as their official youth summer camp facility in Las Vegas. Coaches from FCB Escola and La Masia will train the players here for 5 days this summer.”
As far as his riches-to-rags-to-riches story goes, Mr. Rezai remarked, “I’ve learned in life you have to learn to be flexible, to adapt, overcome and never give up. I’ve survived and prospered by following one of my childhood hero’s principles [Bruce Lee], to be formless, shapeless like water. My favorite quote is; ‘If you put water in a cup it becomes the cup. If you put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot;’ flexibility and openness to change is vital. I am fortunate to have been around strong, positive people. I have a great team around me, without which, none of this would have been possible.” As for what the future holds, Mr. Rezai says there are more projects in the works, from a mixed martial-art and cross-fit addition, to a new state-of-the-art basketball and volleyball center, to the worldwide distribution of a revolutionary new health related product. It is said that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and just like his father and uncles, he has his hand in many different ventures. Rising from the ashes – the American dream is alive and well in Las Vegas.