Conduit Bending is a Superpower!


Seldom do you find an industry where individuals from diverse backgrounds can come together to work toward a common goal. I personally never imagined myself in the role I find myself in today. I went from a Broadcast Communication major as an undergraduate to a Theatrical Set Designer in graduate school to an early career working in independent theater and film to retail to marketing, finally landing my first job in solar about nine years ago. I’ve been hooked ever since. Many of you in the industry have similar stories and I am fascinated by them. Who are you, solar heroes? Where did you come from? How did you find your way to solar? What attracted you to the company you work for? What makes your solar career special? Why do you do what you do?

I recently had the opportunity to pose these questions to Hratch Labbad with Solar Optimum in California. If you have followed us on social media recently, or watched our YouTube videos from the Product Showcase last year, you may have already met him. Hratch has been in solar for seven years and has been Solar Optimum’s Construction Manager for the past two years. He came to solar from the plumbing and construction industries. Although he enjoyed construction, he was seeking a new challenge.

“I’m always looking to expand my knowledge. Solar at the time was such a new technology that not many people were doing it. Once the opportunity to work in solar presented itself, I knew I had to take it,” says Hratch. With Solar Optimum, he found a perfect fit.

The California fires last year are still fresh in the minds of home and business owners. He shared this story with me: “A customer told me how they lived off of our solar and battery systems for about two weeks while the power was shut off to the neighborhood due to fires in the surrounding area. They were so grateful that they chose Solar Optimum to get them through those hard times. When I hear stories like this, I know we are making a difference. I know that I am making a difference in the lives of many here in California,” he recalls. No superhero capes here, just his conduit bender.

“If I could travel back in time and give my 18-year-old self some advice, I would tell myself to get into the solar field sooner. This career has been so rewarding both on and off the field. To this day I continue to learn and grow in all aspects of the trade. I really couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else. There’s still so much more to learn in solar energy. It’s an exciting field that is truly rewarding on many levels,” Hratch says.

Arno Aghamalian, Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Solar Optimum, has some words to share about the installation team that Hratch leads. “Our installation team takes incredible pride in the work that we do, and it shows. Over our 12-year history, Solar Optimum has won countless awards for our meticulous way of doing business both on the construction side and customer service side. We deliver more. Period. End of story.” A whole company of solar heroes!

We are proud to have Hratch and his team as partners on our mission, Better Solar Starts Here. Solar Optimum was our first Platinum Certified Installer, and Hratch has been a fan of our products from the start of his solar career. “Ever since I’ve started in the solar industry, Unirac has always been the brand of choice. The entire line of products is truly developed with the perspective of the installer, which makes for simple and consistent installation methods,” he states.

From installers to sales to marketing to operations, design, and owners, you all have something inspirational to share. Are you a solar hero? Follow us on Instagram @uniracsolar, use #BetterSolarStartsHere and #solarheroes. We hope to make this a regular feature of our newsletter. I know I am not alone in wanting to hear more stories from our solar heroes out in the field. Help us tell your story!