By: Laura Dirtadian
Featured Father: Ara Dirtadian || Businessman, Chef, Father to two
Ara was born in Fairfax, Virginia to an Armenian father and American mother. He grew up with strong role models all around him, including his Armenian grandmother and great-grandmother, mother, and his twin sister and older sister, all of whom are strong and grounded. His family moved to Germany and traveled Europe for three years, then moved to San Diego in the 1980s.
Growing up, Ara had a strong passion for computers and music, music being heavily influenced by his talented father who is an environmental engineer by trade and violinist and grandfather, also a musician and influential math teach. Ara graduated with a Bachelor in Economics, Magna Cumlaude from the University of California San Diego and was in a famous local punk band in San Diego for 5 years called Contra Guerra.
After graduating college in 1999, I (Laura Dirtadian) met Ara after coming back from a year abroad in Spain and knew on our third date we were going to get married and after our first trip to Armenia in 2004, it was solidified we were meant to be together.
He and I married in 2005 and traveled the world together. He supports me in my career in Information Technology, having taught me about binary numbers in the very beginning to DMZ zones today, along with my volunteer efforts with AIWA-SF, being my biggest cheer leader.
Part of the reason why I believe Ara has been so supportive in my career is because of his mother, Margaret Dirtadian, who has been one of the biggest role models, not only for him, but myself and our children as well. From a young age, she exposed Ara to the fact that women can be mothers AND hold a big career. She started out as a teacher, then got her Master’s degree from USC and then taught Naval Intelligence training in a heavily male dominated field (I even ask her if she knows if someone is a special agent or not), she demonstrates true female empowerment.
Over the years, we struggled to have kids, but were finally blessed with two of the most beautiful children parents could have – Dylan and Ani and to this day, I can’t believe how lucky our kids are to have him as a father. We hit the jack pot. One of my favorite moments was when Dylan was about 15 months old. I was on a business trip and Ara sends me a photo with our dining room table filled with home made Armenian food – all made by him! There was chicken kebab, pilaf, hummus, grilled vegetables, jajeeg, you name it. And the entire meal was for just he and our son. Nothing makes me prouder about the man I married when he looks and plays with our children – and it’s anything from coaching Dylan’s soccer team or playing dress up with Ani and wearing her tiaras – and owning it.
Not only is Ara a successful business man, having owned and grown his technology company over the years to reach clients from coast to coast, but he is an amazing chef (known for his pizza and chocolate bread and one of the reasons I fell in love with him), entrepreneur, designer, handy man, musician, and last but certainly not least, wonderful husband and partner in life.
Thank you for all that you do Ara Dirtadian.
AIWA-SF: The Armenian International Women’s Association is a dynamic global 501(c)3 dedicated to empowerment, education and enrichment. Through many projects and initiatives, AIWA is dedicated to enriching social, economic and personal advancement of Armenian women worldwide through educational and other community activities that promote gender equity, and emphasize our Armenian cultural heritage. To learn more about AIWA, please visit http://www.aiwainternational.org.
To get involved with the AIWA-SF affiliate, please visit http://www.aiwasanfrancisco.com or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We are grateful for all donations. To help us promote progress, contributions can be mailed to: AIWA-SF 15559 Union Ave #227 Los Gatos CA 95032