Personal and professional biography

Husband, father, vegan, competitive runner. Solar technologist. Environmentalist.

  • Wife, baby and my wife
  • A nice black and white of me
Solar Blog

Solar Blog

Visit my professional blog page. Read of my adventures as Director of Information Technology at one of California's 10 largest renewable energy companies.
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IT Exec Award

IT Exec Award

I am very proud to have won the San Diego Business Journal Information Technology Executive of the Year Award in 2013.
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Google Glass

Google Glass

In 2013 we we developed one of the first apps ever for Google Glass, and certainly a first for the renewable energy industry.
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Personal Life

Personal Life

Husband. Father. Vegan. Competitive runner. Willing to talk ad nausea about any.
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Proud of what my colleagues wrote about me

I was recently nominated for the 2015 Top Tech Exec award. I was beside myself when reading what my colleagues wrote about me. Here it is verbatim:

Michael Chagala has played a pivotal role in the success of Sullivan Solar Power, and in 2014 had his largest impact on the company’s success to date. Michael brought Sullivan Solar Power into the national spotlight in 2014 in several dramatic ways, each one contributing to the continued skyrocketing growth of the company. Sales resulting from Information Technology projects increased over 40% over the previous year, all while maintaining a record 0% attrition rate within the department.

In 2014, Michael was featured in Forbes Magazine (twice), Wired Magazine, the San Diego Business Journal, the front page of the Union Tribune business section, and the New York Times for his innovative work developing devices to improve safety and efficiency of solar field employees. He was a speaker at Solar Focus 2014, a conference held in Washington DC on new technology in the field of solar power. He was also the featured speaker on Greentechmedia.com’s “Scaling Solar: Lower Costs and Managing Your Rapidly Growing Solar Business” event.

Michael Chagala manages all Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts and has acquired and maintained the top organic ranking for coveted search terms in the solar industry across several counties. With more than 200 local solar companies, in addition to nationwide publically-traded companies, achieving and maintaining the top rank for solar SEO is significant. Michael Chagala and has generated a substantial of business for Sullivan Solar Power last year, through the creation and maintenance of Sullivan Solar Power’s online presence.
He oversees all hardware and software thorough the company, which is a full-time job in itself. Michael has brought fiber optic cable to each of Sullivan’s 3 offices, and has begun a policy of replacing desktop and laptop computers with more environmentally-friendly tablets. Last year there were 117 employees across five offices and Chagala effectively kept all employees producing high quality results; he was able to secure new devices that have helped employees in doing their jobs more efficiently.
He has also made giant strides far beyond the industry standard for the happiness and growth of his employees. Michael mandates an hour of each day be spent on research and pet projects of the employees choosing for personal growth. His team building days have included such fun activities as paintball tournaments and kart racing. Every two weeks in 2014 guitar lessons were provided to the entire department to stoke creativity. For professional growth, Michael sends each Information Technology employee to a conference of their choosing every year. All of his employees are NABCEP certified, which is the gold standard of solar certification. This has led to a record 0% attrition rate!

The combination of national exposure, sales leads from information technology projects, and the growth and happiness of his employees, Michael’s efforts have been absolutely vital to the continued growth of one of San Diego’s fastest growing companies.

Last November, Chagala spoke at the Maryland DC Virginia Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) Solar Focus 2014 conference in Washington D.C. where members came from across the country in all areas of the solar industry, from marketing and installers, to finance and technology. They gathered to listened to Michael Chagala provide insight to solar industry companies as to how they can also utilize software and technology to build out their own company database workspace to increase efficiency and streamline processes within their company.

Once again, Chagala was the mastermind of a technology that Sullivan Solar Power would embrace and proudly announce (2013 Chagala developed one of the first apps ever for Google Glass, and certainly a first for the renewable energy industry). In 2014, Michael Chagala became a posterchild Intuit’s Quickbase, where he is featured on the home page of their website. Chagala is also featured in videos and news releases surrounding his work with Quickbase, which continues to provide Sullivan Solar Power positive exposure.

While the media attention around Quickbase has generated business, Chagala has more importantly utilized and transformed Quickbase to be the ultimate client and employee management system for Sullivan Solar Power. All departments use the platform he created and it is a convenient site where everything can be documented from customer service and marketing to accounting and sales. This has helped streamline many processes, improved communication, provides a simple location to run frequent analyses, and much more. In 2014, Michael Chagala introduced a new ticket system to Sullivan Solar Power which has increased employee productivity through fast responses to internal technology issues.

In 2014, Sullivan Solar Power received its most prestigious recognitions to date, which Chagala was actively engaged with. Chagala and his entire team achieved North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) certification. This assisted Sullivan Solar Power in becoming the fourth and largest company in North America, third in the state of California, second in Riverside County, and the first San Diego and Orange County NABCEP Accredited PV Installation Company. Chagala and his team spent hours applying for the rigorous accreditation process and the company wouldn’t have distinguished award without his efforts.
Chagala has also filmed and edited videos that have gone viral and have sparked interest in solar in communities across Southern California. His creativity and ability to capture his audience has generated a large amount of business for the company, and most importantly, is helping Sullivan Solar Power in achieving its vision – to change the way this world generates electricity.

Speaking at the MDV-SEIA Conference

I’m thrilled to have been invited to speak at the Maryland DC Virginia Solar Energy Industries Association Solar Focus 2014 conference in Washington DC. Also known as MDV-SEIA, its members come from all areas of the solar industry, from marketing, to installers, to finance. It’s an honor to be selected to speak in front of such an esteemed group.

I will be part of the New Technologies and Developments panel and speak on my experience developing business software on the Quickbase platform. Quickbase is a cloud workspace that lets anyone from non-technical, to technical, build their own applications. I will also touch on our Google Glass app and some plans for our website.

I’m about half way down the page: http://mdvseia.org/conferences/solar-focus-2014/speakers/

I’m heading out a day early to take some much-deserved vacation time to see DC. My hotel appears to be within walking distance of nearly everything. Maybe shoot yet another video my coworkers will say I’m awkward in…