He's made Barbie fly like a butterfly and dance like a pop star. And he's made Winnie the Pooh and Piglet bounce like Tigger.
"If I'm contributing to this country … that is the biggest satisfaction that I'm getting at," said Beidokhti, who emigrated here from Iran 27 years ago.
Beidokhti, founder and chief executive officer of Huntington Beach-based Toba Fountains, describes the Toba Magic Fountains as self-contained, remote-controlled floating units that turn a pool or pond into something similar to the Bellagio fountain show in Las Vegas.
They were given away in the Golden Globes Awards gift suite, where actors Charlie Sheen, Masi Oka and Mario Lopez were photographed with them. And they'll be featured on an upcoming episode of HGTV's "I Want That."
It all started with the I-405 freeway.
In 2001, Beidokhti was a senior project manager for Mattel, trying "to relax after working hard" one day. All he could hear, however, was his pool's filtration pump and traffic on the 405 zipping by his home near Bushard Street and Warner Avenue, where he lives with his wife and two sons.
"So I wished to have a fountain," he said. The units on the market at the time either required lots of installation or had to work with a noisy filtration pump.
So the engineer decided to create a prototype for his dream fountain.
It would float. It would light up. It would spray water in the air. It would bring "showtime" to the back yard, as Beidokhti put it.
After coming up with his wish list, Beidokhti went to Target and bought an ice maker.
"Nader is like MacGyver. (He) can take anything and make anything out of it," said Emily Yost, the director of sales and marketing at Toba Fountains.
He connected a light, a water pump and circuitry in the ice maker and showed the prototype to his wife, Zohreh Beidokhti, who is a registered nurse.
After a demonstration in their backyard pool, she gave her approval.
The concept for Toba Fountains was born, and Beidokhti went on to win the Hammacher Schlemmer Invention of the Year in home electronics in 2002.
All his inventions and his current endeavor with his fountains aren't just a reflection of the work that Beidokhti's done since he came to the U.S. from Mashhad, Iran. They're also a reflection of his mother's belief in him, he said.
Which is why he also named his company, Toba, after her.
"I'm going to keep my mom's name all over the world. That's my contribution," Beidokhti said.
(Excerpts taken from the OC Register Article written by Julie Ann Ines.)