Meet The Team: Chris Ramirez

Chris Ramirez For Chris Ramirez joining the lighting industry may have been an accident but there is no mistake about this controls specialist. Chris joined the SDLA team in December 2017, but it didn’t take him long to fit right in with the controls department. Chris has two kids and loves being at home with the family and he recently started training in Jujutsu (he’s actually competed at the IBJJF Worlds Championship!). However, Chris would like to set the record straight! Despite what his boss Cliff is telling everyone, Chris doesn’t only invite people he’s mad at to train (or get beat up) at his gym. Are you ready to get in the ring with our newest controls specialist?

Q: How did you get started in the lighting industry?

CR: It was by accident. I had moved to Arizona to start working for a telecommunications company but when there wasn’t enough work for me as a lineman, I started working at a local lighting company. When I moved back to San Diego, I landed a job with Acuity Brands, where I worked for about two years and where I was commuting four hours per day. When the opportunity to finally get into controls design presented itself, I jumped at the chance to come work at SDLA. Luckily, I still get to work closely with Acuity and my old co-workers. When working with Acuity now, it’s a fast turnaround, I always know exactly who to go to and where to find things.

Q: What’s your day to day like in the office?

 CR: Everything begins at the bid board. We all check in for our assignments and then turn our concentration to delivering the bid on time. If it’s a large project or really complicated, everyone in the controls department will dig in and pick it apart, there is always a lot of team collaboration. After attacking the bid, we will start on the design and layout. We often are working hand in hand with the fixtures team to ensure that everything is compliant and up to Title 24 code.

Q: What’s your favorite part of your job?

CR: Being on the agency side has been a nice change and I’ve been loving the atmosphere I get to work in. Everyone calls our department “the nerds”, “the geek squad” or “big bang theory” because we are the go-to guys, (Cliff, Brendan, JP) whenever anyone has difficult questions. I love the daily challenges this job presents to every department and our ability to solve them as a team. I’ve also had the opportunity to travel to so many different places and locations through this industry. I’ve been to over 40 states!

Q: What do you like best about the culture at SDLA?

 CR: The best thing, in my opinion, is the freedom. We have the freedom to get projects done and be confident in our work. Performance is the ultimate priority but we all know we are trusted and treated like adults and I love and appreciate that.

Meet The Team: JP Castro

JP Castro is quick on and off the field, he has to be as a father of four and controls specialist at SDLA! JP is a hometown guy, who is a lifelong Padres fan and baseball enthusiast. JP loves being able to share his love for baseball with his four sons and coach their teams! When he’s not being a team player in the office with the controls department, he’s teaching his sons how to be team players on and off the field. Ready for this month’s meet the team? Coach Castro is throwing us a fast one!

Q: How did you get started in the lighting industry?

JC: I was working for Acuity Brands in Ontario, who is a manufacturer for SDLA. I was looking to cut down on my four-hour commute and got in touch with Danny. They brought me on board a little over a year ago to bring in more tech support for the lighting controls department. What’s really nice for me is that I still get to work closely with Acuity Brands and my old co-workers there but now I’m able to spend more time at home with my family.

Q: What’s your day to day like in the office?

JC: Every morning we try to knock out all our bids so I start off my day by checking in with the board and the team to see what needs to be done. We will load the controls in the quotes, along with the designs and layouts and then send it over to the distributors so they can continue the process from there.

Q: What’s your favorite part of your job?

JC: I really enjoy working with my co-workers to complete a project. Everyone on the team has a different set of expertise and experiences, so we are are all able to help each other to make the best results possible for the client. My co-workers are also very intuitive, they can sense when I may need help with something and step up to the job before I even need to ask. Aside from working with the other controls guys, I work with the fixtures/quotations department every day and their another team that is always willing to be supportive and hard working.

Q: What do you like best about the culture at SDLA?

JC: I love that when it’s time to be serious, everyone here can buckle down and work together to get a project done. But when we have the time to joke around and be silly, everyone can have a good time together too. It’s also awesome that I get to work with one of my greatest friends every day, Brendan. We are definitely office best friends so whenever people hear us bickering or disagreeing about something, they will come over and ask “uh, oh trouble in paradise?”

Meet the Team: Brendan Kelliher

When Brendan Kelliher joined the team two years he became SDLA’s lucky charm.  Born and raised in Ireland, Kelliher moved to the United States and is a great addition to the lighting controls department.  After standing up for a week straight at his standing desk, he officially became known as the office’s standup guy… of course, his teamwork skills played a role in the nickname too! Brendan is settling into his new home here in San Diego and loves the beach, but he does miss those rainy days in Ireland that we don’t find here too often. Let’s meet one of our beloved controls specialists!

Q: How did you get started in the lighting industry?

BK: I went to school for civil engineering and worked in that field before moving to the United States. When I moved from Boston to San Diego I had the opportunity to talk with SDLA and I was really interested in what the company was doing. So, I initially didn’t think I’d end up in lighting, but this company had me excited enough that I decided to make the switch. I’ve now been a control specialist for two years and I can safely say I made an awesome choice when betting on SDLA.

Q: What’s your favorite part of your job?

BK: I love checking in with the bid board for hot projects and seeing all the different rewards and challenges that each job will offer. I love that my day to day is always changing along with the projects we are working on; the job is never monotonous, and it really keeps things fresh and exciting. Also, I love being the point person for a lighting controls project when I’m able to own everything from the concept to the design to the execution.

Q: Do you have a favorite project that you’ve worked on?

 BK: Right now, I’m really enjoying working on the SDG&E Mission Control project. The Fresco™ line from Acuity Brands is a really big component of this job because the line includes high-performance lighting controls that we are excited to use in our layouts. This project is very rewarding because a lot of thought and detail has gone into designing the layout so, after numerous rounds of revisions, it will be great to see the project completed, knowing the client got the best value.

Q: What do you like best about the culture at SDLA?

 BK: What first attracted me to SDLA was the support system given to each and every employee. I saw very early on, firsthand, that everyone is really helpful and supportive of one another and it’s something that I continue to love about the culture here. The environment in the office is great too, the atmosphere is the perfect hybrid between laid back and goal oriented. We work hard, play hard. I can also confirm that our team is like a big family and I’m really lucky to have great co-workers, like JP Castro. He’s the Sancho Panza to my Don Quixote.