Powering products to the moon, Acopian marks 60 years

PHOTO CREDIT- Armen Elliott Photography/ Acopian Technical Co., which began in 1957, continues to be a family owned and operated business. From left are Alex Karapetian, sales and marketing director; Jeff Acopian, vice president; Greg Acopian, president; and Ezra Acopian, purchasing and facilities manager.

One Greater Lehigh Valley manufacturer helped Americans walk on the moon with its ground support technology, created the first solar-powered radio and provided energy for a South Pole project.

With 60 years in business, the company doesn’t plan to slow down anytime soon.

Not many people know what goes on behind the walls of its nondescript building in Palmer Township near Route 22, but Acopian Technical Co. has been making power supply products for industries all over the world. Its first product, in 1957, was the solar-powered radio.

From aerospace to energy and medical to defense, Acopian serves a wide range of companies.

“What we’ve done over the years has worked,” said Ezra Acopian, purchasing and facilities manager. “[To] make sure we are making good products.”

Acopian’s manufacturing facility at 131 Loomis St. is the company’s headquarters and includes a production and assembly area and areas for warehousing, shipping, sales, administration, engineering and research and development.

The bulk of the company’s manufacturing is at its other location in Melbourne, Fla., from where most of its products are shipped.

THIRD GENERATION

Now in its third generation of ownership, Acopian is led by brothers Greg and Jeff Acopian, Greg’s son Ezra Acopian, and Alex Karapetian, nephew of founder Sarkis Acopian and Greg and Jeff.

Sarkis Acopian, father of Greg and Jeff, founded the company in 1957 in Phillipsburg.

The following year, Acopian moved to Spruce Street in Easton and in 1964 to its present home.

TRUST, IDEAS

With so many family members involved in the business, one might think that it can create an environment rife with strife and disagreement. But that is not the case.

“We wholeheartedly trust each other,” said Karapetian, sales and marketing director. “It’s a group effort.”

As Ezra Acopian noted, they all want the same thing, success for the company.

“We all realize we are good at something and bring something to the table,” he said. “They [Greg and Jeff Acopian] trust in our abilities. They let the fresh ideas come in. They are very open to that, and it makes all the difference to us.”

THREE-DAY SHIPPING

Acopian offers more than a million varieties of voltage products used in a diverse range of applications, including industrial manufacturing, water purification and flight simulation.

But the most distinguishing aspect of the company, its leaders said, is its three-business-day shipping guarantee on most products, which includes building and testing.

As Greg Acopian noted, his dad came up with the idea that, although everyone needs power supplies, they also need them quickly.

WELL-KNOWN CUSTOMERS

Whether the order is $10 or $100,000, the company will treat the customer with the same attention, Karapetian said. He said one client, an oil and gas company, needed a product just after Hurricane Harvey struck this summer, and Acopian delivered in a day.

“That’s normal; customers appreciate that,” Karapetian said.

It’s partly what led to the company, early on, landing big-name customers such as Lockheed Martin and General Electric.

Today, Acopian clients include everyone from Google and Tesla to locals PPL Corp. in Allentown, Air Products & Chemicals in Trexlertown and Just Born in Bethlehem.

LAFAYETTE CONNECTION

Acopian also has built relationships with local colleges, particularly Lafayette College in Easton, which is often a source of new employees.

“We have a strong relationship with Lafayette,” Karapetian said. “Five of us graduated from Lafayette. We’ve come a long way with our internship program.”

Greg Acopian, company president, said Acopian does not have trouble finding employees, and that most workers are there for the long haul.

On average, employees have been at Acopian for about 30 years, Karapetian said.

THREATS FROM AUTOMATION?

Company leadership does not see automation threatening the livelihood of employees at Acopian, since the devices have been assembled by workers the same way over the years. Processes and operations largely have been unchanged, and it’s a formula that appears to work.

That being said, as the industry evolves, Acopian also evolves, including updating its computer systems.

“I can’t see automation drastically affecting how we do things,” Ezra Acopian said. “At the end of the day, we are still building high mix, low volume.”

The company sees growth prospects in solar power and consumers buying products that are made in the U.S.

“I have seen an upswing in more people learning about U.S.-made companies and taking pride in that,” Karapetian said. “It’s a dying breed to have made-in-the-U.S.A. products.”

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