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50 Best Workplaces of the Year 2020

An Interview with Arno Aghamalian, Solar Optimum Inc President and CEO: ‘We’re Proud of Our Prestigious Reputation in the Energy Industry’

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“We set out to conduct business in a manner we could be proud of, creating positive and impactful experiences for our customers, employees, communities, and the earth.”

Renewable energy continues to get cheaper, and it is increasingly the most affordable form of new power capacity around the world, less expensive than any form of fossil fuel electricity. This landscape has changed so much in terms of costs and performance that it requires entirely new analysis.

Those who cannot understand this change and wish to continue to rely on the old way of generating energy using fossil fuels will surely be missing out on the most transformative technology we have seen in a long time.

In light of the preceding, we’re pleased to present Solar Optimum, Inc — a solar energy company that provides renewable and solar energy solutions to residential, business, and commercial sectors.

Solar Optimum, a multi-award-winning, nationally ranked solar provider, celebrates 12 years of transforming residential and commercial buildings across California into sources of clean energy, with over 100 employees serving thousands of customers and installing more than 115 MW of solar energy systems to date.

The company was incorporated in 2008 and is headquartered in Glendale, CA.

Arno Aghamalian, Solar Optimum Inc President and CEO, spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.

Q. How does a casual day at Solar Optimum look like?

‘Work Hard, Play Hard’ is the internal mantra among Solar Optimum employees. There is never a dull day in our office despite the volatility of the solar and energy industry. We are lucky to be located in California’s golden state, where the sun shines 80 percent of the year. And with that, homeowners and business owners alike require solar.

From sales to marketing, accounting to operations, and installation to the executive board, every department is proud to put in 110 percent effort every day. The daily challenges vary, but without a doubt, each team member takes extreme pride in their work day after day, week after week.

We are a collaborative team that supports each other through the entire customer journey. We are also a team of specialists who have years of experience, but we are always willing to learn and grow.

Q. ‘When people are having fun, they work together better, and they produce better work.’ How do you interpret this saying?

We are all human and treat each other as such. That means we have room for laughs and fun, as well as hard work. We appreciate every team member equally and make sure to show them that with company events, employee appreciation, and a welcoming atmosphere at the office. We strive to improve year by year, and everyone is onboard. We have set and broke our records while climbing the industry charts to achieve a number one ranking in Commercial Development and number one in Solar and Battery Installs for the State of California (Source: 2020 Solar Power World Rankings).

Q. What is your take on climate change, and how can you create sustainability?

We believe that sustainable energy is vital to help minimize climate change. Protecting the environment is the reason we got into this industry in the first place. We are determined to help homeowners, and business owners in California do their part to save the environment. We do so by offering renewable energy solutions that allow them to go green and save money, all without compromising on their lifestyle.

Q. What are the significant challenges you have faced in this sector, and how did you overcome those challenges?

Challenges in the solar and energy industry are common and expected. Particularly when it comes to the area we serve; the development and installation of solar and battery. Here in California, the market is saturated with competitors in every city and on every corner. Our competitors tend to place more importance on their product offering than the customer. We believe that being customer-centric is the first step to a successful, long-standing business. By fully understanding what our target customers want for their home and energy needs, we can then find the product offering that matches those needs.

We’ve overcome this challenge and dealt with this hurdle by listening to our customers. Asking what they want, what their pain points are, and how we can solve them.

Q. Growing the company based on employees’ passions must be the priority. Do you ask your employees what they are interested in doing and how they would like to see their career unfold?

Without question! From the initial interview to the onboarding of a new employee, we must make sure we match the company’s needs (for a particular department and position) with the individual’s professional business goals. When we bring on a new employee, we think long-term, so we must know their areas of strengths and weaknesses, so we can work together to help them grow professionally. We work together to produce high-quality results for our customers while also fulfilling the employee’s needs so that they feel good about what they are doing. Their progress and professional growth is important, and we always look within the company to promote current employees into new roles and opportunities.

Q. A fair workplace stresses teamwork while still encouraging individual achievement and creativity. Does your company follow the same strategy?

Absolutely! Solar Optimum is proud to be a business place that allows their employees to grow and expand their knowledge. We have an open-door policy that allows everyone to communicate with each other at any level. Weekly meetings across all departments are vital to the success of Solar Optimum. Being able to share thoughts and ideas, collaborate with each other and other departments is what makes us different. We thrive on learning from each other and enforce respect among each employee and each department.

Q. What does the future hold for Solar Optimum and its employees? Are exciting things on the way?

The future is bright for us at Solar Optimum. We will continue our dominance in the solar energy and battery storage industries while expanding into the roofing sector as we advance. We will continue to refine our systems, processes and perfecting our customer service experience. We know our success and growth start with our employees. Keeping them motivated, sharp, educating them, meeting their needs, and pushing them to become better will continue to remain our top priority.

“Solar Optimum has proudly built one of the most dedicated and proven teams in the solar industry. Each team member brings expertise and tireless commitment to the continual pursuit of excellence, ensuring that every customer becomes a customer for life.”