By Rod Lee
It wouldn’t have taken free beverages and food, a bounce house, corn-hole games, face painting, an “Elvis” tribute artist, volleyball, the chance to obtain a free TV or even what could be viewed as Ted Strzelecki’s Red Auerbach-like victory cigar to know that something special was happening on Davis Street in East Douglas the morning and afternoon June 29th.
Mr. Strzelecki’s company, Solar Wolf Energy, was officially marking its arrival in the community with an open house on grounds previously occupied for many years by the Granutec manufacturing plant.
There was ample reason for the celebration; and the awarding of checks in the amount of $3000 each to the Douglas Fire Department and the Douglas Police Department. In relocating its base from Millbury to East Douglas, Solar Wolf Energy has masterfully repurposed the building it now calls home with the creation (spread over two floors) of a reception area, conference rooms, a kitchen and showers, a training room, a gym for staff, a mental fitness room, a media room, warehouse and construction space and offices.
This is all in keeping with Mr. Strzelecki’s philosophy of maintaining a healthy, contented and ever-expanding workforce.
“We really needed this,” he said. “We’re growing. This property (which Solar Wolf Energy is leasing) puts us in a position to hire great people. The key here is terrific people. You can’t train happiness.”
Recently, he said, Solar Wolf Energy has added forty new employees and with new contracts in the works the firm will be bringing on thirty-five more. A new location in Worcester is coming, to go with offices in Pennsylvania and New Hampshire.
The apparent struggles being experienced by Sunrun—the San Francisco-based self-proclaimed “leading solar company in the nation”—are helping Solar Wolf Energy in its drive to capture that label for itself, Mr. Strzelecki said (Sunrun was the target of a class-action lawsuit in 2013 for allegedly overstating potential cost savings, but as of this year is listed as the top solar provider in the state of Massachusetts).
Regardless of whether Solar Wolf Energy knocks Sunrun off its pedestal, Mr. Strzelecki’s employees like the positive atmosphere he strives to perpetuate. They also admire his willingness to think outside the box, as for instance when he proposed covering 24,000 surface acres of the Quabbin Reservoir with a floating solar array to generate one megawatt of power, last year. The state Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) rejected the idea.
“I love it,” Jereme Erlandson, who is Solar Wolf Energy’s director of hospitality, said. “I have been with the company since last November after fourteen and a half years in the automotive industry. I was ready to work in an industry that is helping the planet one solar installation at a time. We are hiring!”
Sean Conlon, an installer for Solar Wolf Energy (“I work on the roof”) who came aboard about eight months ago, agreed. “This is the best company I have every worked for,” Mr. Conlon said.
Drawing on a lengthy career in the construction arena, Mr. Strzelecki casts Solar Wolf Energy as a company that provides its commercial and residential customers with “the power to be off the grid or to just offset their electrical bill for financial independence,” as the Solar Wolf Energy website puts it. Installations come with a twenty five-year warranty backed by the manufacturer; the company’s German-engineered systems consist of SolarEdge power optimizers, which generate more electricity and are built to last—unlike “poly systems and micro-inverters.”
There is also Mr. Strzelecki’s oft-repeated mantra to consider, which is, “we under promise and over deliver every time.”
In expressing his appreciation for Mr. Strzelecki’s “generosity and support,” Chief Nick Miglionico of the Douglas PD said he has a use for the monies. “We are in the process of restoring the front entrance and will be replacing old police lights that have been in place since 1993 with new globes and lights,” Chief Miglionico said.
Solar Wolf Energy’s impact is already being felt in the town of Douglas.
Contact Rod Lee at [email protected] or 774-232-2999.