He began his civil service career in July 1942 as a junior radio inspector, and rather than wait to be drafted, he enlisted as an active-duty Sailor in April 1943. In 1946, Tatigian transitioned back to the civilian side, and since then, he's been an integral part of the Navy's small business programs.
"I started the small business outreach as a grade seven in the civil service," Tatigian said in an interview. "For 66 years of my Navy Department career, I have been involved in helping small businesses. We have expanded the industrial base for the Navy and have created a foundation of support from small business, which is essential to our economy."
Tatigian spent much of his early career with the Bureau of Ordnance as both a Sailor and civilian, and assisted in the development of the Navy's first operational guided missile, the ASM-N-2 "BAT." During his time on active duty, he and two co-workers presented the BAT to then-Chief of Naval Operations Fleet Adm. Ernest King. King declared the weapon operational and established two Pacific flight squadrons to use it in opposition to Japanese shipping.
Upon departing active duty, Tatigian remained with the Bureau of Ordnance as a small business analyst. He developed a small business exhibit that traveled across the U.S. and visited cities with populations of 400,000 or greater.