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Stories of Leadership: Azad Abbasi

Azad Abbasi, '91, flourished in SDSU's Industrial Technology program and now owns a successful business.

After spending twelve years as an engineer in the medical device industry, Azad Abbasi, '91, is now a contractor in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning and electrical industry, specializing in green technology and serving all of San Diego County. 

Tell us the highlights of your professional career.  What are your proudest achievements?

Azad Abbasi headshot
Azad Abbasi
I’m very proud of my days in the medical device industry.  There is a lot of satisfaction taking a concept from prototype through implementation and manufacturing.  All of that happens in less than eighteen months.

Now, with my contracting business, I take great pride in working in an area that is moving into energy conservation programs.  I work in both residential and commercial heating, ventilation, air conditioning and electrical, specializing in green technologies.

What’s your favorite college memory?

I started out at San Diego City College in the drafting program. After finishing and not knowing what I really wanted to do, my uncle who taught civil engineering at SDSU, suggested I attend the Industrial Technology Program at SDSU.

That program doesn’t exist anymore, but for me it was an excellent program. It was a lot of hands-on lab work. My favorite memories are of my experiences in the Society of Plastic Engineers. I eventually became an officer. As part of that program we would travel to visit companies to study their processes. 

Aztec Leadership Network

Who was your favorite professor and/or what was your favorite class?

My favorite professor was Gerald Daley in the plastics program. He made sure you had the techniques down. You either got it right or you started over.  He set standards and held you to them.  If you wanted to succeed you had to pay attention and do it his way, the correct way.  Years later, I look back and fully appreciate what he was doing, instilling that discipline to do things the right way.

If you were to give current SDSU students some advice, what would you say?

Stay with it. I don’t want to sound cliché and say "hang in there,” and don’t be discouraged, but the struggle will be worth it. The college experience opens up different parts of your brain.

What are you currently reading? What’s your favorite book?

I have a son that is in middle school.  We are reading "Fahrenheit 451" together.  As for a favorite book, whatever I’m reading at the time is my favorite.

What is your passion?

Right now my passion is my business, finishing projects so that all parties are satisfied. Outside of work my passion is surfing. My favorite places to surf are La Jolla and Bird Rock.

What is your motto?

I’d have to say my motto is "work hard and play hard."

If you won the lottery, what would you do with your winnings?

I love to travel.  If I won the lottery I’d travel around the world.  I’d love to go to New Guinea or some other remote area of the world.

Which trait do you value most in your friends and colleagues?


I value loyalty. 

If you knew you could not fail, what would you attempt?

I’d like to swim the English Channel.  I’ve watched people try, and I understand how difficult it must be. It would be about technique, strength, hard work, surviving the elements.  How exhilarating would that be?

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