'Zeb' Pirzada: A natural-born leader
QUEENS, N.Y. - Aurangzeb "Zeb" Pirzada has spent more than half of his 31 years in the home medical equipment business and nine years of that has been as CEO of Medstar Surgical. And while that's not exactly how he planned it, he welcomed it just the same.
While most people might be intimidated by taking the reins of a family business at the tender age of 22, Pirzada relished the opportunity when illness forced his father to step down. He already had seven years of experience with the company, doing everything from equipment delivery to billing to sales.
"I was ready - I wanted it," he said.
Not only was he capable to run the business, he proved himself to be a decisive, strategic leader, expanding the company's referral source base and diversifying beyond durable medical equipment into the rehab and respiratory markets.
Additionally, he automated office procedures, expanded the business hours, initiated Saturday deliveries, implemented a 24/7 on-call system and increased inventory to minimize back orders.
"This business is all about service," he said. "My goal is to have Medstar's name stamped in the minds of referral sources and patients throughout the New York metropolitan area because of our service."
Pirzada's youthful fearlessness has been an attribute in moving the business forward, yet he acknowledges there is no substitute for experience.
"Our generation is more willing to take risks and change with the environment," he said. "At the same time, we make decisions based on emotion where age and maturity would serve us better."
Nevertheless, the vitality of his age gives Pirzada the energy to intensify his efforts in moving Medstar forward despite external pressures from Medicare and higher gasoline prices.
"It's a tough industry right now, but we're still going out there and getting new contracts," he said. "I have other ventures in mind as well."
Age: 31 Company/position: Medstar Surgical/CEO Headquarters: Queens, N.Y. Years in HME business: 16 Membership in professional organizations: AAHomecare, NYMEP, RSNA Business motto: "A rising star in health care"