Vahan G. Garboushian

Vahan G.Garboushian


Vahan G. Garboushian
Armenian-born electrical engineering grad, considered a pioneer in concentrated photovoltaic systems, is the UA College of Engineering 2011 Alumnus of the Year.

Armenian-born electrical engineering grad, considered a pioneer in concentrated photovoltaic systems, is the UA College of Engineering 2011 Alumnus of the Year.

Vahan Garboushian is the founder, chief technology officer and chairman of the board of directors of Amonix Inc., a California-based designer and manufacturer of concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) solar power systems that has the distinguished honor of being the oldest CPV systems company in the U.S.

Garboushian himself has the honorable distinction of being the University of Arizona College of Engineering 2011 Alumnus of the Year.

He's a 1966 UA electrical engineering graduate who launched Amonix in 1989 to focus on utility-scale solar power in hot and dry climates. He's now considered a pioneer the development of CPC technology and he currently resides in Torrance, Calif.

The University of Arizona Alumni Association and the UA College of Engineering will honor Garboushian with 2011 Alumnus of the Year Award at the 48th Engineers Breakfast on Nov. 4, 2011. Before the event, Garboushian was gracious enough to answer a Q&A for the readers of Arizona Engineer.

How has your UA education benefitted you?
Being at UA benefitted me in many ways… the UA made me quickly learn to be self-sufficient and independent. It really taught me survival along with my education. Since I had no money, I took large course loads to finish quickly. An independent, entrepreneurial career path stemmed as a result.

I have always been entrepreneurial. When I started my college journey, I wanted to major in physics. A wise professor suggested that I select engineering as a field -- more jobs, more money. I decided to select the path he recommended and chose electrical engineering as my major. Another wise professor from one of my engineering courses said that since I was really good at physics, and that’s where my interest was, I should go into solid-state electronics. Again, based on this advice and recommendation, I started companies making solid-state devices and that’s how I ended up in solar.

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