Candidate Spotlight: Rocky Shanehsaz
Writer / Julie Yates
The United States is known as the land of opportunity, especially for those that work hard and are determined to succeed. This has proved to be true for Rocky Shanehsaz, who emigrated from Iran at the age of 16 with little resources of his own. Today he is a businessman, entrepreneur and philanthropist who never seems to get tired of giving back to the community. As a candidate for the District 5 seat on Noblesville Common Council, he hopes to be in the position to achieve a larger amount of good in the future.
Initially locating himself in Bowling Green, Kentucky, Shanehsaz graduated from high school and entered Western Kentucky University. He earned degrees in chemistry and animal science before working as a computer network engineer. After becoming a United States citizen in 1985, he settled in Noblesville where he has lived for the last 33 years.
In 2001, he purchased the historic Model Mill building and spent almost 15 years renovating it into the Mill Top Banquet and Conference Center. Once a flour-grinding mill, it is now listed as an Indiana Historic Landmark. The milling industry was an important part of the area’s economy during the second half of the 1800s, hence the Miller Man being Noblesville High School’s mascot.
“As the owner of a thriving and fun business such as the Mill Top, I feel like I am living the American dream,” Shanehsaz says. “My wife, Terri, and I have two successful children, Abe and Ava. One is a practicing attorney, and the other is studying biomedical engineering at Purdue. We have two grandchildren.”
Besides restoring the Model Mill building, Shanehsaz has also taken steps to preserve other structures important to Noblesville’s history. Twenty years ago, he bought and relocated three historically significant homes to preserve them. This paved the way for construction of a new Noblesville City Hall at 10th and Conner Streets.
Over the years, Shanehsaz’s philanthropic efforts have supported area festivals, schools and churches. He has a special heart for law enforcement and drug rehabilitation organizations. He has provided space for, and this year will host, the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office Chaplaincy Prayer Breakfast. The Hamilton County Jail Tower Program, a career-readiness initiative for jail inmates, has benefitted from funding Shaneshsaz has provided. Currently working to expand Hope and Recovery Centers Inc., he wants to make a real difference for individuals struggling with alcoholism and drug addiction.
This is Shanehsaz’s third run for a seat on the council. He hopes that this time he will be successful. He would like to share his experience, knowledge and business acumen to help guide the city’s preservation and development, as well as continue to give back to the community.
“I lean conservatively and believe strongly in responsible growth, historic preservation and the efficient use of taxpayer dollars. I’m interested in making sure our tax dollars have the most impact in our community.” Shanehsaz says.
“When people see my name they might think, ‘Oh, he’s just some foreigner.’ But that is no longer true. Noblesville is my community. I want good things to come out of my community, just like I expect good things for my own family. I try to open my Christian heart to do good deeds for those less fortunate,” Shanehsaz says.