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How this intel officer translated a new business

Hagop Ouzounian began his business while in the Army

Hagop Ouzounian left a military intelligence career to develop a business in IT. /Melanie Casey

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Saying that language comes easily to Hagop Ouzounian is an understatement.

Born in Lebanon to Armenian parents, Ouzounian, a former Army intelligence officer, speaks Armenian, Arabic, French, Spanish, Russian, German and English.

But these days, he is more likely to communicate using languages like Java, Visual Basic and C++.

"Language comes easily," said Ouzounian, the founder and chief executive officer of Aych Electronics, which has offices in Lacey and Lakewood as well as Burbank, Calif. and Las Vegas.  

While still a teenager, Ouzounian completed a degree in programming languages (he graduated from college the day before graduating from high school) and worked at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Los Angeles. It should come as no surprise that the Army, recognizing his potential, recruited him straight out of high school in 1985.

He went to Germany and worked on M-1 tanks. After four years, Ouzounian separated from the military as a specialist and returned to California. In 1990, he reenlisted and deployed to Kuwait during the first Gulf War. After three years of service, he separated again. In 1995, he joined the California National Guard and was assigned to the 223rd Military Intelligence Battalion. He attended Officer Candidate School in 1999, and after 9/11 was activated. He stayed on active duty until last year.

Ouzounian came to Joint Base Lewis-McChord in 2006 when he was assigned to the Warrior Transition Battalion (WTB) after sustaining injuries in Iraq. Though now retired, he continues to work occasionally doing contract liaison and consultation work and predeployment training for units on JBLM.

Ouzounian started Aych Electronics in 1994 in Burbank, Calif. while between military enlistments. The Lacey shop opened in 2008. The company has 17 full-time employees who work on everything from information technology (IT) issues to surveillance equipment installation and management and electronic control design. It works with individuals and corporations alike and has a lot of military clients, Ouzounian said. The company also supports Soldiers by sponsoring Morale, Welfare and Recreation functions on and off post.

A divorced father of one, Ouzounian divides his time between Washington and California. "Washington is growing," he said. "There are a lot more opportunities here ... and more potential to help businesses start."

For more information, call (360) 539-5156 or stop by the Lacey shop at 8650 Martin Way SE.

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