(more than you ever wanted to know!)
...Father and Husband
Ara and wife Patti bought their first home in Leesburg in 2000 and raised their son Adrik and daughter Ava in the Town. Patti is a guidance counselor at Lovettsville and Round Hill Elementary Schools. Adrik is an incoming junior at James Madison University while Ava is finishing her senior year at Loudoun County High School and American University-bound in the fall.
The Bagdasarians have been active members of St. James' Church in Leesburg, where Ara led the youth music program with Adrik and Ava for several years.
In 2004, Ara and his partner launched e2Campus - the world's first school emergency notification system in Leesburg. His company, Omnilert, provides emergency alerts to millions of students, employees, and residents in over 2,500 organizations.
Ara has been a lifelong entrepreneur, starting his first business, "KidCo" before age ten raking leaves, shoveling driveways, and mowing lawns with a workforce of neighborhood kids in suburban Buffalo, NY. In the mid-'90s, after graduating SUNY College at Buffalo, Ara started XNETIX to build websites on the newly commercialized world wide web. An offer to launch a new web company brought Ara and Patti to Northern Virginia in 1999.
Over the years, as problems without a solution emerged, Ara's entrepreneurial mindset worked towards solutions. For example, when coaching his son's youth soccer team, parents could not determine if games were on or canceled. Ara launched RainedOut in 2005 for leagues to communicate with parents via text message. Since then, over 12 million people have opted in for the service.
In 2017, Ara co-founded a new nonprofit, BENEFIT, a coalition of musicians and community leaders who raised money for area nonprofits serving needy children. BENEFIT launched the Crossroads Music Festival in downtown Leesburg to showcase original music in multiple venues while raising funds.
Ara speaks at Georgetown University, Shenandoah University, and area high schools regularly on entrepreneurship. His advocacy for entrepreneurship education can be seen in his TEDx Talk and his participation as a mentor in Loudoun's Young Entrepreneurs Academy.
Ara has been an advocate for the arts, entrepreneurship, and people with disabilities for almost three decades. In 2004, Ara was appointed and elected to serve as the Chairman of Leesburg's Economic Development Commission. He introduced the Town of Leesburg's "Economic Development Vision Map," which outlined a plan for the Town to become a destination for arts, entertainment, and dining, the establishment of a small business incubator, improvements to the Downtown, and a more "customer-service" mindset.
During his time as Economic Development Chairman, Ara championed and received support for the Arts & Cultural District, George Mason University Enterprise Center, Downtown Improvements, and was a member of George Mason's Loudoun Campus Planning Team.
In 2012, Ara led the War of 1812 Bicentennial event at Ida Lee Park in Leesburg which featured reenactors, performances by the Loudoun Symphony Orchestra, American Fife and Drum Corps, and The West Point Alumni Glee Club.
In 2019, Ara received the Town of Leesburg's George C. Marshall Award that "celebrates an individual who has demonstrated an exemplary commitment to the community above and beyond business contributions."
Ara has been a champion for the organizations that serve those in need in our community. In 2008, Ara was elected President of the Loudoun Symphony Orchestra and helped navigate the organization through the economic downturn. Over the past decade, Ara has served on the Vestry of St. James' Episcopal Church, Loudoun Literacy Council, Advisory Board Member to VTV Family Outreach Foundation, Vice-Chair of United Way Loudoun Regional Council, and currently as President of The Arc of Loudoun.
Ara recently co-founded a new nonprofit, BENEFIT.
Ara is a lifelong musician who started on the saxophone in Elementary School. The flame of music reignited when son Adrik started playing banjo while in middle school. With Adrik, they started performing at church functions, First Friday, and Leesburg Animal Park.
Today, Ara plays guitar with Leesburg band "Frayed Knots" who perform around Loudoun at festivals, charity events, and the occasional First Friday.
Ara and his partner/co-author Nick Gustavsson published "The Lemonade Stand" book in 2012. The book is a "why to" for entrepreneurship and outlines principles on turning an idea into tangible reality. The book and accompanying "Lemonhead Movement" provides a curriculum for entrepreneurship education.
A group of Loudoun entrepreneurs started the "Lemonhead Council," which meets bi-monthly and is a forum for entrepreneurs to help fellow entrepreneurs succeed.