About five years ago, Ghassem Takmil, ChE’77, reluctantly turned in his 33-year-old French Renault to an Iranian junkyard. The government gave him the equivalent of roughly $1,200 — about what he originally paid for it — to junk the car, under the condition that Takmil purchase a vehicle made in Iran.
A retired chemical engineer, Takmil defiantly used to pack his wife and two daughters (raised during Iran’s war with Iraq, they are both doctors now) in the Renault and drive all over the country on various trips. “The only problem I had with the car was it was not very strong and could not go very fast, which probably was a plus for me — since I was not a very careful driver,” Takmil says.
During the time he owned the Renault, Takmil’s wife had three different vehicles. “Meanwhile, I pimped my ride somehow by renovating this car every 10 years,” he says.
After retiring, Takmil started to reflect increasingly on the roles of engineers, and people in general, in society. “I was missing the point regarding the environmental concerns — things intentionally kept back since the majority of consumers do not observe the standards needed to save the world for future generations,” he says.
Takmil started writing articles about the environment for newspapers. He even ran for public office. He considers himself a life-long learner.
Before he got the Renault, and while he was in college in Rolla, Takmil drove a Buick LeSabre around the U.S. “My aim was to learn about your culture and become familiar with your country,” he says. “You have a beautiful country and lovely people.”
Takmil closes with one last thing that is very important to him. “I want to mention that Iranian people want to live in peace,” he says.