In 1964, Michael Garjian left the farm for the university with a dream to become an inventor. From 1969 to 1999, he was granted nine worldwide patents and employed more than 400 people in his companies in the U.S. and Australia, manufacturing and distributing his inventions globally. In 1999, after concluding his manufacturing career at Neon Technology Corporation to become a social entrepreneur, he was offered the position of Director of Small Business Development at the nonprofit Valley Community Development Corporation in Western Massachusetts. From 2000 to 2005, he helped low-income entrepreneurs launch more than 60 small businesses. In May 2003, Businesswest Magazine, a major business journal, credited his office with being one of the three most significant catalysts in the economic renaissance of the city of Easthampton, Massachusetts. In 2003, he was awarded the Common Capital (formerly Western Mass. Enterprise Fund) award as “Friend of the Year” for his work.
Garjian worked with the Alliance to Develop Power, a group of 10,000 very low-income individuals occupying tenant-owned apartment complexes throughout Western Mass. He helped them form a worker-owned cooperative to provide landscape and painting services to their properties. He worked with tenant organizations to help them better understand how to use their $40,000,000 in financial power to achieve their social goals. In 2002 he was awarded the Alliance’s Champion of the Year award for his work.
As a consultant to sustainable energy companies, he worked closely with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, members of the Massachusetts and North Carolina state legislatures, and the city of Cincinnati, Ohio to help develop programs relating to renewable fuels.
Garjian is a principal in several companies involved in sustainable energy and agriculture, with a focus on advanced biofuels, wind power, and indoor agriculture. He currently works with family farmer-owned coops to produce carbon-smart agricultural products to restore food quality and soil vitality while removing carbon from the atmosphere.
He currently volunteers at Ascentria Care Alliance (formerly Lutheran Social Services), one of the organizations that helps resettle refugees and other New Americans into their new homeland. As such, he works with ACA’s Micro-Enterprise Service program helping some of these New Americans to establish small business in order to become self-sufficient.
As a proponent of wind power, Garjian was one of three winners of the Scientific American Magazine’s “Ten World Changing Videos” contest in 2010 for his submission about a new urban wind turbine technology.
He has been a member of the board of directors of several nonprofit organizations as well as for-profit private or publicly traded corporations.
On January 1, 2000, Garjian founded E2M.org (www.e2m.org) to establish E2M, an Economic Model for Millennium 2000, a sustainable, free-market economic model based on an investment goal of adequate profits and sustainable growth for the common good.
He led the establishment of a pilot E2M regional shared economy in Western Massachusetts and has received the support of local and federal elected officials, economists, educators, students, clergy, labor leaders, entrepreneurs, and community members.
As the author of Community Capitalism, he offers the reader a detailed road map on how to use the E2M Economic Model to open the doors to the shared economy, in which a network of benevolent, decentralized, sustainable, regional, economic communities can become the dominant financial power that determines the destiny of our society and planet.
Garjian and his wife Irene have been happily married for 37 years, and have two daughters, Robin and Annie.