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Class of 1973
Jon Khachaturian, Class of 1973, son of Margaret and Narbey Khachaturian of Philo, graduated with honors in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois in 1978. In 1981 he applied for the first of his 35 U.S. patents, and started his first company, VERSABAR INC., providing heavy-lift services to oilfield companies. His reusable spreader bar heralded a new approach to heavy lifting that over time would win him world-wide recognition. He introduced precision weighing services, and has built some of the country's largest tension test machines to create industry standards of safety and reliability in lift components. To date, VERSABAR rigging equipment has been used on over 25,000 lift projects weighing as much as 12,000 tons. He later patented VERSATRUSS and VERSABUILD, revolutionary new lifting concepts with widespread industrial applications. Currently his business interests, which include aviation, real estate, and farming, total seven companies employing over 200 people. Mr. Khachaturian spearheaded a successful drive to limit the terms of state legislators in his adopted state of Louisiana, and he briefly took time away from his business interests to present himself as an independent candidate for the United States Senate. Mr. Khachaturian, who lettered in football both at Unity and for the Fighting Illini, is married to the former Bobbi Baker (Unity '77) and the father of three, Matthew, Sara, and Bethany. Jon serves as an elder and has been a Sunday school teacher at Woodland Presbyterian Church for 25 years. He supports numerous church, school, and inner-city youth ministries. Although he has resided in New Orleans, Louisiana since 1978, he continues to call central Illinois in general and Philo, Illinois in particular his home.