Biography of Hirair Hovnanian
Hirair Hovnanian, President and Founder of Hovsons, Inc., is a founding benefactor of the Armenian Assembly of America. From his arrival on a freighter in 1951, Mr. Hovnanian has built one of the most successful privately held land and housing development companies in the United States. In recent years he has totally dedicated his time and efforts to the betterment of society and to the Armenian-American community.
A 1956 Villanova University graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering, Mr. Hovnanian began his career with a consulting firm constructing the Connecticut Turnpike. In 1958, after seeing a cousin’s home being built in Toms River, New Jersey, Mr. Hovnanian moved there and started building homes. He was later joined by his brothers. After several successful years working with his brothers, Hirair Hovnanian broke out on his own and formed Hovsons, Inc. in 1963.
Within the first year, Mr. Hovnanian had built 74 homes and noticed that eighty percent of his buyers were retirees. That was an epiphany that changed his future. Mr. Hovnanian is referred to in books as one of the innovators of the concept of large scale adult communities of single family homes located on individual lots. This bold move became very successful, and the communities grew and grew later becoming mixed use communities including recreational, medical and commercial facilities. Over tens of thousands of adult community homes and home sites have been built by Mr. Hovnanian. Over the last five decades, his business activities have diversified to include the development and construction of health care facilities, major retail centers, office complexes, rental apartments and a 7,200 acre mining business.
In addition to his corporate business achievements, Mr. Hovnanian is involved in numerous charitable and civic activities.
Mr. Hovnanian has also contributed greatly to the Armenian community worldwide with a variety of civic, charitable, educational, and philanthropic activities. He serves as Chairman of the Armenian Assembly’s Board of Trustees and is a founding member of the Hayastan All Armenian Fund. Mr. Hovnanian also directly managed the construction of four housing component factories in Armenia after the 1988 earthquake, on behalf of the Armenian Assembly of America. Along with his contributions of time, his charitable contributions to date exceed $40 million.
Mr. Hovnanian and his wife Anna have five children: Siran, Edele, Armen, Tanya, and Leela, two son in laws, Toros and Levon, and five grandchildren.