From Immigrant

"The best philanthropy is good public policy."

Darius Assemi is a proud Iranian-American immigrant and a civil engineer specializing in transportation. Currently, he serves as President and CEO of Granville Homes – a real estate development company established in 1977. In this position, he is intricately involved in the planning, design, development, servicing, and financing of both single and multi-family residential, commercial, and mixed-use projects.

Over the past 40 years, Granville has built more than 6,000 single-family residences in the Fresno metropolitan area and has been involved in the acquisition, financing, and development of over 100 projects. In addition, Darius led the effort for downtown revitalization and higher-density development, building more than 400 multi-family residential units and redeveloping over 35,000 square feet of commercial real estate – a total of 14 projects in Fresno’s urban core. This specific development strategy, centered around the future high-speed rail station, is meant to encourage growth in the downtown transit hub.

Darius leads on issues like transit-corridor development because he believes that smart, planned growth that accommodates all modes of transportation is vital in building healthy communities. Therefore, he chose, in 2012, to propose a master “cycle track” system for the City of Fresno that would have drastically improved trail access for bicyclists and pedestrians while reducing reliance on GHG-emitting forms of transport.

This mindset of environmental stewardship is ever-present in Darius’ business. In 2008, he was an early adopter of innovative and environmentally-responsible building techniques in a new line of Granville “Eco-Smart” homes, which are still in production and available to new homeowners in Fresno. He is also a LEED Accredited Professional (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).

Darius has plenty of experience in development and transportation policy, having served two terms as a California Transportation Commissioner. As such, he is acutely interested in the policy process, and actively takes on roles in which he can affect forward-thinking change in the industry.

Granville’s mission includes the health, well-being, and prosperity of residents in the Central Valley. Personally, Darius strives to promote causes and initiatives that provide food, shelter, employment, healthcare, education, and hope to the underprivileged and especially to at-risk youth, both in the United States and throughout the world. In 2015, Granville Homes became the lead sponsor of Talk Read Sing in Fresno, a campaign initiated by the Talking is Teaching movement, as Darius recognizes and values the great importance of early childhood education and development.

Darius is involved in many nonprofit organizations in Fresno and throughout the world.

In 2006, the Granville Homes initiated the annual Granville Home of Hope fundraiser, which has raised over $8.4 million to date, providing funds to many local nonprofit organizations.

Additionally, Darius serves on the board of several nonprofits, including the Alliance for Medical Outreach and Relief (AMOR). AMOR’s mission is to build healthier communities in areas of concentrated poverty in Fresno County and around the world. While their initial mission was to provide aid in countries like Afghanistan, AMOR has more recently begun a neighborhood resource center project, which includes a health clinic, in Mendota, CA, a critically-underserved city in western Fresno County. Darius has dedicated his own time to see the facility is developed in a manner that will maximize the good it provides for the local community.

Darius used his experience in land use and development to co-found the California Health Sciences University (CHSU) in Clovis, CA in 2012. Darius and his family saw the need in the Central Valley for expanded access to advanced degrees in the medical field and began the process of founding the new school. To achieve this goal, Darius worked to establish partnerships with local high schools, community colleges, and CSU Fresno that now provide guaranteed pathways for local students to enroll at CHSU, and is the beginning as a pharmacy school, CHSU saw its first class of graduates in May of 2018.

Program offerings at CHSU are rapidly expanding, however, with the first Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine class matriculating in 2020. Data from these initial classes and the broader academic literature shows that over 60% of these students will remain in the area for their career, bolstering the local economy and improving access to quality healthcare providers.

In 2016, Darius became the founder and publisher of GV Wire, an online news site dedicated to exploring, explaining, and exposing issues that affect the health, well-being, and economic prosperity of residents in the Central Valley. Darius is a Cum Laude graduate from California State University, Fresno, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering, and is the proud dad of two rescue dogs, Sofie and Zoie.

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