Biography of Jerair Nishanian

          Born on 29th of November, 1936 in Tehran, Iran, Mr. Jerair Nishanian completed his high School in Tehran (Alborz High School). Not being able to continue his education, he worked for two years in the mornings teaching math to the six graders in Abovian Elementary School, and in the afternoons as an office assistant for an Armenian merchant in the Bazar, and saved the equivalent to $500.00 US Dollars.

          To fulfill his childhood ardent desire to become a Civil Engineer, he decided to continue his education in the United States of America. Therefore, with the information obtained from the American Library in Tehran, Iran, he applied for admission to several universities in the United States, and received acceptance from American University in Washington D.C. for a special program for English language for foreign students, George Washington University in Washington D.C., and University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Nebraska for Engineering studies.  Upon receiving his acceptance letters, although his older brother (late Carro Nishanian) preferred for him to go to Europe and become a Medical Doctor, nevertheless, he purchased an airplane ticket for him, and on November 8, 1958 Mr. Jerair Nishanian left Tehran and arrived in Washington D.C.

          Upon arrival he immediately registered at the American University for a six-week course in English for foreign students, and upon completion of the course, because George Washington University in Washington D.C. was too expensive, he decided to move to Lincoln, Nebraska, and register in the School of Civil Engineering at University of Nebraska. As his $500.00 was being depleted very rapidly, it was crucial for him to find a part time job (employment) to provide for his expenses. Unfortunately, in 1958, Lincoln Nebraska was a small University town, surrounded with large farms, and did not offer much opportunity to a foreign student for work. Therefore, after one semester, he decided to move back to Washington D.C. where he could work and continue his education. So he transferred his earned credits to the school of engineering at Howard University, a government supported university with lower tuition, and started working part-time as a busboy in a restaurant, walking distance from his residence.

          On January 22, 1965, Mr. Jerair Nishanian received his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering (BSCE), and by then at his part-time job he had advanced to a Head-waiter position at International Inn Hotel, in Washington D.C.

          Upon receiving his BSCE degree after a brief experience in highway construction and the aerospace industry, he obtained an Engineering position and resumed employment with the US Government, Department of Transportation as: Highway Design, Bridge Design, and then as Structural Research Engineer. While working as Structural Research Engineer, Mr. Jerair Nishanian continued his education and in June 1969 he received his Master of Civil Engineering degree, and continued postgraduate studies in the Fatigue and Fracture Toughness Characteristics of Metals, eventually, he became Project Manager for Research Activities of Federal Highway Administration concerned with the Fracture Toughness and Fatigue Characteristics of Structural Steels used in highway bridges. Undertaking all these demanding jobs, and at the same time always looking for better opportunities he continued on.

          Being interested in the real-estate development, while working full time for Federal Government, Mr. Nishanian also worked part-time in the evenings and weekends in the private sector involved in design and construction of commercial and residential projects.

          While in graduate school, in November 1969, he received five thousand dollars ($5000.00) from his mother (late Mariam Nishanian), and in partnership with a close friend, (late Dr. Ara Pezeshkian), he established JAM Enterprises, and invested in couple of old residential real properties in Kensington, Maryland, which he deemed to have the potential of future commercial development. JAM Enterprises was his first venture which was successful, and it continues to this date.  While working full time as an Eengineer, Mr. Jerair Nishanian continued his part-time entrepreneurial ventures, and in addition to JAM, he established NGN, JERAX and JADES Enterprises, and in November 1988, after 22 years of service with the Federal Government, he resigned from his position and concentrated full-time on his private personal endeavors. 

          As the Managing General Partner of his enterprises, Mr. Jerair Nishanian has developed and built shopping centers, office buildings, commercial and residential subdivisions which include: Commercial property occupied by Merchant Tires on Chain Bridge Road, at Tysons Corner, VA; Office Building at 1880 Howard Ave, Tysons Corner, VA; JADES Shopping Center in Vienna, VA; JADES Offices in Vienna, VA; 720 Grant Street Center in Herndon, VA; Manassas Park Shopping Center in Manassas Park, VA; Brentwood Court Townhouses in Vienna, VA; and Akhtamar’s Haven subdivision, an exclusive residential subdivision in Great Falls, VA. 

          Mr. Nishanian is the President and the founder of Jer-Tag Enterprises, Inc., (Jer-Tag), and Cycle Homes, Inc., (Cycle) Virginia corporations. Jer-Tag Enterprises, Inc. holds a Virginia real estate brokerage license, and Cycle Homes Inc. holds a Virginia Class A contractors’ license.

          Mr. Nishanian being semi-retired is not actively involved in day to day management of said partnerships and corporations, rather, his son Tagvor G. Nishanian as his partner, fulfills the administrative responsibilities and his daughter, Alineh Nishanian Templin is in charge of the property management.

          Upon completion of his undergraduate education and obtaining his permanent residency in the USA, he petitioned the US Eembassy in Tehran to issue a visitor’s visa to his youngest sister (Hasmick) and his mother, (late Mariam) and after their arrival he changed their visas to permanent residency status. In November 1967, he petitioned for his oldest sister, (late Vartin Zarookian) and her family and thereafter, he petitioned for his other sister (Flora Gharakhanian) and brother (late Carro Nishanian) and their families to be granted immigrant visas, and by mid nineteen-seventies his entire family had moved to the USA.

         Mr. Jerair Nishanian’s father (late Abraham Nishanian) was born in Bursa, Turkey and his mother (late Mariam Nishanian), in Apin Akoulis, Armenia. They were the only members of their families who had survived the Armenian Genocide. His father was an entrepreneur, and had developed an export business of packaging and shipping Persian carpets to the USA.  He was very devoted to his Armenian identity and to his Armenian heritage and traditions. Mr. Jerair Nishanian’s father passed away when he was only two years old.  Mr. Jerair Nishanian the youngest of five children was raised by his mother. His mother, being a very young child, with a bullet in her knee miraculously had survived the Armenian Genocide, and was taken to an Americans orphanage in the city of Hamedan in Iran. She was a very pious, wise and resourceful lady who raised all five children alone. After completion of Akhtamar’s Haven Subdivision in Great Falls Virginia, Mr. Jerair Nishanian built his resident at 10220 Akhtamar Dr. Great Falls, VA. Meanwhile he purchased a two bedroom condo for his mother in Vienna, Virginia so that she would be close to her other children who all lived in Vienna, VA, but she preferred to live with him at 10220 Akhtamar Dr., Great Falls.  Even at her advanced age, when she was asked, would give business advice to her son.

          Mr. Jerair Nishanian has been deeply influenced by his parents’ past, and developed strong feelings for his ancestral motherland, Armenia.  He has always felt a sense of duty and deep desire to provide assistance to children who are in orphanages, and be helpful to underprivileged young Armenians, in particular, to those talented so they could achieve their potentials. To realize his vision, on November 30, 1993,  Mr. Jerair Nishanian established Jerair Nishanian Foundation, INC. “JNF” a charitable organization. The Corporation was incorporated under provisions of the Virginia Nonstock Corporation Act. “JNF” was formed exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, literary and educational purposes, fostering amateur sports competition, and the provision of cruelty to children and animals, all within the meaning of Section 501C3 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.

          Mr. Jerair Nishanian is married to Anahid Nishanian and collectively they have three children and five grandchildren.

          He has received several awards for his philanthropic activities.

          Please download a booklet of his biography here.