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Swanson School of Engineering celebrates alumnus Andrew Tavakoli with its inaugural Leader in Entrepreneurship Award

Andrew Tavakoli 2020 DAB

Andrew Tavakoli (left) receives the Swanson School's inaugural Leader in Entrepreneurship Award from Dean Martin. 


Postponed by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering's 61st Distinguished Alumni Banquet finally was celebrated Thursday, April 8, 2022 in the University Club. Andrew Tavakoli BSEE ‘81 received the School’s first Leadership in Entrepreneurship award for his commercial real estate and investment career as well as his community and philanthropic engagement. 

Most recently, Tavakoli was appointed by President Joseph R. Biden to serve on the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts and as a board member of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

“Andrew has leveraged his engineering and business skills to build a dynamic real estate portfolio across the country, but also has leveraged his success to support the arts, education, healthcare, and civic organizations both in California and the nation's Capitol,” noted James R. Martin II, U.S. Steel Dean of Engineering. “He is the epitome of an engineer - one who committed to solving challenges, creating cultural change, and giving back to the community. We are delighted to honor his career with this inaugural award for entrepreneurship.”

About Andrew Tavakoli

Andrew Tavakoli is the Principal and CEO of Tavaco Properties, the holding company for a portfolio of commercial real estate nationwide. Andrew started in commercial real estate after graduating from University of Southern California and has been an investor in commercial real estate for over 30 years. Andrew earned his BSEE degree in computer science from University of Pittsburgh in 1981, his MBA in marketing from CSULB in 1983, and his MSBA in finance from USC in 1986.

Andrew has acquired and repositioned several private companies including the acquisition of Hamburger Hamlet national restaurant chain in 2004, which employed over 1,400 employees, and successfully sold the company in 2009. He currently holds investment positions in dozens of private companies under the umbrella of Tavaco Capital Management, a private equity firm.

Appointed by President Biden, Andrew serves on the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts and is a board member of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the National Cultural Center. He serves on the USC Marshall School of Business Board of Leaders. He is the Chair of Development Committee as a board member of the Los Angeles World Affairs Council (LAWAC), a major civic organization on the West Coast.  Andrew also serves as a board member of the Cedars Sinai Medical Center, the largest medical center in Southern California. As a philanthropist, he supports several other charitable organizations.