NAME: Alex Karapetian
TITLE/COMPANY: Director of Sales & Marketing, Acopian Power Supplies
MARRIED: Yes, to Leslie for three years
CHILDREN: Theodore “Teddy”
YEARS AT COMPANY: 8
On a typical day, what types of tasks and responsibilities do you tackle?
My typical day involves a range of sales and marketing tasks including interfacing with our customers and maintaining those relationships, and working on new business development. I follow up on sales leads, and spend time creating new advertising and marketing content. Also, I spend a lot of time on the phone talking with our customers and helping them with any of their requests, taking their orders, providing them with quotes, and talking with our engineers and production personnel on various orders and new product development.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
This is definitely a tie! Working with my family is such an enjoyable and rewarding experience. Also, hearing positive feedback from our customers. I love hearing them talk about how they are satisfied above and beyond their expectations, how pleased they are that they came to Acopian for their power supplies, and I love seeing their positive posts about our service on Facebook and other social media outlets.
What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
Constantly having my finger on the pulse of what our customers want and need and being able to get our products in front of them is extremely challenging. We’ve been in business for 58 years, and we’ve manufactured millions of power supplies. Customers are extremely satisfied, and they come back to us again and again for their power needs. But we also have a new demographic, a new world, new needs and new customers to reach and serve. I actually find this both challenging and exciting. It’s a double-edged sword, but it’s really the most exciting thing about my job. I want to find out what those prospective new customers want so that I can match their needs and to be able to say, “If we don’t already have it, we’ll build it.”
What sets Acopian apart from other companies of its kind?
All of our products have always been made in the USA, are made in the USA, and always will be made in the USA. Most of our power supplies ship in three days. Larger power supplies ship in six to nine days. We have the fastest turnaround time in the industry.
Also, our reliability and customer service sets us apart from our competitors. When you call Acopian, you don’t get an automated system. You don’t press numbers to get connected to a real person. When you call Acopian, you talk to a sales associate or an engineer who takes your call and answers your questions immediately. We also adhere to our core principles that this company was founded on and we haven’t ever wavered from it: Reliable and diverse products, fast shipping, made in the USA and unsurpassed customer service. We put our customers first, no matter what. In an era of “planned obsolescence,” Acopian customers have products that have been in operation for decades — some from the 1970s or even earlier – that are still operating today. That is something that is pretty unique in my opinion.
What are the top accomplishments of Acopian?
We’ve never, ever, missed our three-day shipping guarantee. As I said, we have the fastest turnaround time in the industry. We’re known for that, and we’re proud of that. In 2014 we were awarded the ECN Impact Product of the Year Award. Also this year, Acopian was awarded the Raytheon 4-Star Supplier Excellence Award, ranking Acopian among the top one percent of Raytheon’s 10,000+ suppliers.
In today’s global economy, being exclusively “Made in the USA” is also something we take great pride in. All of our products are engineered and built at our Easton, Pa., and Melbourne plants. We are very proud to be able to compete with anyone globally, while maintaining all of our production in the US.
Finally, the fact that we’re in the third generation of this family-run and family-operated company is a huge accomplishment.
Why did you choose your profession? Why are you passionate about what you do?
Well, first, I chose it because of family. I loved the idea of working with my family every day. I also chose it because I love working and interacting with people, and I love the thrill of sales and customer service. I enjoy working for something bigger than just myself. It’s exciting to have a family legacy in this business, and I want to help keep it going.
What do you hope to accomplish this year?
Some of our goals for the coming year include launching new product releases, increasing our presence outside of the U.S., increasing our sales, and of course, continuing to maintain our award-winning reputation for reliability and quality. We want to continue to be an industry leader, while we target new markets and new business opportunities to expand our customer base.
On a more personal note, people want leadership and they want to be part of something bigger than themselves. They truly appreciate when the people they work with empower them to be a part of the solution so they may play an integral role in accomplishing the goals of their company. I enjoy helping make that empowerment a reality.
What would you tell the younger version of you to do differently?
After graduating from college, I lived in Washington, D.C., and worked for a lobbying firm. I spent a year-and-a-half to two years preparing to take the LSATs so that I could go to law school, because that’s what I thought I had to do. But, even though I enjoyed the work that I did, as well as my time in D.C., it wasn’t what I really wanted to do for the rest of my life.
I had always focused on the fact that my family members were engineers, and I wasn’t. So, I didn’t really think that I could join them in our family business. I didn’t realize then that I could have a future at Acopian, and that my opportunities were endless. I’ve been here eight years, but I could have been here 10 by now, if I had realized sooner the amazing future that awaited me here.
Where do you see the industry going in the future?
Right now, I think the industry is focusing more and more on energy efficiency and renewable applications like solar and wind power. These applications will create new and exciting markets for us, and Acopian will be there to meet those – and other new – power supply needs.
How do you balance the various roles and responsibilities in your life – in and outside of work?
Because I work with family members, my work-life balance is likely different from that of many others. Lunches with my uncles, for instance, generally revolve around ideas for work. Also, my family and I often sit around the dinner table talking about work issues, and we will continue those conversations the next day at the office. We’re constantly communicating about work, and life, inside and outside the office.
Another way that my work life and personal life interrelate is through my volunteer role as President of the Alumni Association at my alma mater, Lafayette College. It’s a time-consuming role, but it’s one that I enjoy very much. I am the fifth member of my family to have graduated from Lafayette College. I love being able to help, contribute, and volunteer.
In addition, I serve on the board of two non-profit organizations. I live in Manhattan and work in Easton, Pennsylvania, and I have a very long commute. However, I actually thrive on burning the candle at both ends. It energizes me.
On a personal note, my wife and I just had our first child — he’s one month old, and it’s a very exciting time for us. The underlying theme for me is and always has been about family. It’s the one thing that keeps me going.
What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve been given?
I’ve actually been given several, and I think they all relate well to each other. One is to always be optimistic, because it allows you to have a better attitude when dealing with the tough issues. But, I’ve never had a problem with that, because I’m a very optimistic person. Secondly, I believe that the possibilities are endless if you work hard. There are no limits.
Another piece of advice I’ve heard and have often shared with others is “If you’re not happy every day in your job, something is wrong.” It’s true. I think it’s important to be passionate about what you do.
Finally, I have to add that, for me, it’s not necessarily the advice that I’ve been given that’s had the biggest impact. For me, the biggest impact has stemmed from the living examples that the prior generations of my family have been for me. They have lived out and modeled for me what I always aspired to be. And that has been a tremendous gift.