With just one year in the lighting space, Chris Wilkey is making moves as a control field technician here at SDLA! When he isn’t moving from job site to job site, he’s either on a boat bass fishing or at his favorite golf spot in San Diego bringing his “A” game! Chris is a Navy veteran, where he was an intelligence analyst before joining the lighting industry. With his unique background, Chris has a new perspective to bring to our team!

Q: What is your day-to-day like as a control field technician?
CW: My day-to-day is a little unique in that I’m rarely in the office or the same place. I mainly visit job sites and meet with customers to help them better understand their lighting controls systems. When it comes to the lighting space, there are so many ins-and-outs that it’s important to grasp things such as the installment processes, being Title 24 compliant, and preparing for lighting certifications. It is my job to ensure all of our clients have a good understanding of these procedures.

Q: How did you get started in the lighting industry?
CW: Before I started here at SDLA, I worked on private yachts and through my dad’s network, I was introduced to Danny Cortez. Danny and I kept in touch for a while, and one thing led to another, and a position at SDLA opened up. Actually, quite a few of my team members know my dad through the industry, and word caught on quick that we are related. My dad and I have the same name, so some of my team members even call me Junior as a nickname!

Q: What do you like best about working at SDLA?
 CW: I like the flexibility I have here and the opportunity to navigate through different challenges. While I served in the Navy, I mainly worked underground. I eventually retired from the military and got a job working outside doing maintenance for a private yacht company; soon after, I transitioned to this industry. Now that I’ve transitioned, I enjoy working in a social environment, not knowing what the next day will offer me. I also like being able to travel around rather than work in one spot too.

Q: What do you enjoy most about the culture at SDLA?
CW: I love how we have a small team of like-minded individuals here! It’s the kind of environment where we have the same type of humor and we can joke around, yet we all stay committed to our work and know when it’s time to get serious. I love knowing that SDLA has my best interest in mind. In the Navy, I was just one of many, and here, I feel appreciated and that the company has my back. This is something I was never used to and never thought about, but now I feel confident that I am valued as an individual in my workplace.

Q: What has been your favorite project at SDLA so far?
 CW: My favorite project so far is the one I have felt most challenged with. We recently wrapped up a project for the San Diego Community College District. It was my most challenging project for a few reasons… Not only did it take us about 4-5 months to complete, but this was my biggest project that incorporated the use of a wireless system utilizing Bluetooth capabilities on a series of 8 buildings. Because this project was experimental, it was exciting to learn and reflect on the capabilities of the system. Plus, this was an interesting adventure for me in that this was a night job, so I worked from 6:00 pm-2:00 am. I can definitely say this project was one that I was happiest to complete because of how rewarding it felt to conquer that challenge.