I love my job. How many people do you think get to say that in this gloomy economy that never seems
to brighten? I know 53. And they are all my colleagues.
Sullivan Solar Power is one of the fastest growing companies headquartered in San Diego County, both
for revenue and number of employees. Since I started my career with the company in 2009, we have
doubled in size every year. In fact, we can't stop growing out of our offices. What can this growth be
attributed to? The company's mission, social responsibility, fat paychecks, sweet perks, fun colleagues,
and happy customers.
My background is in public relations and environmental sustainability - the focus of my role within
the company utilizes these skills every day to make a lasting impact on our region, our state, and the
planet. There is never a dull moment at the firm as new projects and endeavors sparked by innovation
are always presenting themselves. In fact, there is always more work than I can finish in a day, or week
for that matter (job security, anyone?). Sullivan Solar Power is somewhat of an addiction; late nights
are common because I can't seem to break away. But neither can anyone else. Never in my life have I
seen more dedication from a group of individuals that among my colleagues - not even SDSU students
cramming for finals in college. So I decided to ask around and see what everyone else had to say about
Sullivan Solar Power and our "fun and free flowing" company culture.
Our Service. Probably the most notable contribution to Sullivan Solar Power employee happiness is
what we do. Priding ourselves on supporting the national economy, we are all working with products
that we love - the best that the industry has to offer. Sullivan Solar Power will not specify cheap Chinese
solar panels, or unproven technologies. "I am passionate about what I am selling and am provided the
necessary tools and training by Sullivan Solar Power to complete my job in a professional manner,"
said my esteemed colleague and yoga buddy, David Savarese. Each and every day our staff is able to
help our region and its residents save money, which has been particularly rewarding in the downturned
economy. Finally, helping the environment. Whether you believe in global warming or not, there is no
question that weaning ourselves away from foreign fossil fuels, dirty energy and natural finite resources
is the right thing to do. Free energy falls from the sky every day, and we are able to capture it and
turn it into savings. Many employees in the company have children, and so the thought of our future
generations to look after is near and dear to all of our hearts.
The Leadership. Ask anyone in the local clean-tech industry and they will tell you that Dan Sullivan is the
go-to expert for all things solar - whether it be policy, technology, financials or aesthetics. "Dan is the
most passionate, intelligent, dedicated and hard-working person I have ever met," said my fellow team
member, Community Developer, Tara Kelly. People, including myself, can't get enough of his American
Dream rags-to-riches story, of a young entrepreneur with a big vision, that has brought our company to
where it is today. A master electrician by trade, Sullivan was inspired by the birth of his son to change
the way our country was approaching energy its policy. Daniel's suggestion to start a solar division of
the company was turned away multiple times by his former commercial electrical contracting employer
(who now does solar), before he threw in the towel and decided to fly solo. Starting off with $2500,
a pickup truck and some tools working out of a garage, it was a risky endeavor. Now, Sullivan Solar
Power is the local industry leader, with more solar power systems installed than any other company
in the region and on the annual list of Inc. Magazine's Fastest Growing companies. Employees refer
to Dan as a "loyal, honest, generous and hard-working entrepreneur" and cite his ethical business
practices, allowing freedom for limitless creativity, as the reasoning behind our company's success. Dan is thoroughly involved in the day-to-day operations of the company which many of us admire. "When
you're in a sales position, it's great to work for someone like Dan who truly cares about your success and
is so eager to give help and advice," said Project Developer, and father of two, Jon Rigell.
Morals and Ethics. Sullivan Solar Power has a long standing A+ Rating with the Better Business Bureau,
with no complaints filed in our 8 years of business operation. "Dan is a strong leader that puts principles
first," said Rigell. With so many overnight companies that are coming in and out of the marketplace,
it is refreshing to see consistency and loyalty to employees. Despite a loophole that allows non C-10
contractors to design and install solar photovoltaic systems, all in-house installation crews are certified
electricians. All Project Development personnel are not 'sales guys' but developers that design, and
stick with a customers throughout the process of a project, from concept to completion. The Project
Development team serves as the front line, and as such, they are taught to educate - not persuade.
If a solar power system does not financially pencil, our team is morally accountable to let them know
that it is not in their best interest monetarily to move forward. Being "professional, caring, ethical and
respectful" is the opening paragraph to the company's employee handbook.
Benefits. All regular full-time Sullivan Solar Power employees are provided top-of-the-line health
insurance, with full medical and dental coverage, which even expands to chiropractic work. Of every
colleague I spoke with, the company's established 401(k) with company matching to contributions,
was brought up as something that is valued among all. All employees are given paid holiday, sick and
vacation days, and after each additional year of employment are given an additional vacation day.
Compensation. Installation crews are paid prevailing living wages, and no electrical work is
subcontracted outside of our company, ensuring thriving financial support to our installers. In addition
to a comprehensive benefits package, the average employee at Sullivan Solar Power earns a salary over
$60,000. All Personnel involved with the sales are provided "healthy bonuses" and commissions. Most
Project Developers make an average annual income of $100,000. "The opportunities are endless on the
financial side. We are paid above and beyond any other solar companies' sales staff," said Savarese.
Company Perks. I am not going to lie, the company perks are my favorite offering of Sullivan Solar
Power's many attractions. We work hard, but do a great job at playing hard as well. Each year, if our
annual sales goal is met, Daniel Sullivan treats us all to a fully paid for company cruise. WHAT!? Yes,
seriously. Not a chintzy 3-day Carnival cruise to Ensenada either. Every single employee who works for
the full year of the goal is rewarded to a companywide vacation. In my career working at Sullivan Solar
Power, I have cruised up and down the Mexican Riviera, as far South as Acapulco. Just recently, we took
a 7-day cruise through the Caribbean - even the flight and ground transportation to get to the cruise
terminal were paid for! Every year on 4th of July, Sullivan rents a large boat, well now we have grown so
much that it has turned into a yacht, for 4th of July. All family members are invited to come aboard and
watch the Fireworks of the from the San Diego bay for the Port's Big Bay Boom. It always ends up that
we get the best view in the house. Additionally, every annual holiday party dinner takes place at the
Hotel del Coronado- truly the most magical place in all of San Diego County at Christmas time. Oh yes,
there are some other perks like all employees that do driving are provided their own company vehicle
and reimbursed in-full for all gas expenses, but clearly, not nearly as cool as the company cruise!!
The Family. So, obviously, I have saved the best for last. Hands down the most amazing thing about
having a job at Sullivan Solar Power is that you join into a family. Everyone who works for us is "full
of life", "passionate", "fun to be around", "tight-knit". We wear our Irish Sullivan family crest logos
in pride wherever we are in the community, the region, the State, as we are all part of something
much more grandiose than employment, than a company, or corporation - we are a family. There is not a single person who I spoke with when reaching out for this write-up, who did not mention our
interdependent relationship with one another. Each employee cites our "family" as the description of
our company culture and also contributor to our company's success. For most of us, Sullivan Solar Power
headquarters is our home away from home. "The camaraderie and light-hearted office atmosphere
make coming to work something I look forward to every morning," Jon told me. You would think that
with how much we are accompanied by one another that we would be sick of each other by week's end,
but the truth is - we hang out on the weekends.