Pete Wilking, founder of A1A Solar Contracting, Inc., which is a GrowFL 2017 Florida Companies to Watch honoree, is an accidental entrepreneur.
"I hadn't thought much about entrepreneurship until my 40s," he said. "I wanted to stay in solar and there weren't very many good solar jobs in North Florida in 2010 so I made myself a solar job by creating a solar installation company."
A1A Solar Contracting is a specialty contracting company that designs and installs solar electric power plants and back-up energy storage systems for the commercial and residential marketplace.
"Ten years ago, when I got into this industry, the level of quality of contracting in terms of workmanship and customer service was pretty low so I came in with fresh eyes to the industry thinking we can do a lot better," Wilking explained. "I established a standard of how we do business based on how I would want a system installed in my house or business. So far, it seems well received."
Wilking is proud of the company and team for being recognized as a Florida Company To Watch.
"It’s a huge honor," he said. "We focus all our effort on ensuring we have the highest quality systems out there. We pride ourselves on workmanship and not taking any shortcuts and making it easy for our customers. This is important as these are 30-plus-year power plants so it has to be done right the first time. Being recognized for this is a big feather in our hat giving the team at A1A Solar one more thing to be proud of."
Wilking's advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is that "You’ve got to understand the dynamics of the business you're going into thoroughly," he said. "Understand the end product you want your customers to experience and reverse engineer it from there. Stick to your principles, surround yourself with great people and empower them. Lastly, make it a goal to have your customers brag about your company."
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