Project Description

Featured on Upgraded Living

Urban Design Solar has had a busy year. With an ever-increasing number of people switching their homes and businesses to solar, many have decided to follow suit. Due to their outstanding quality of work and customer service, Urban Design Solar has become a hotspot for Chico’s solar needs.

One of their more recent changes has been the addition of a new partner to the business. Former operations manager, Catrina Zotz, has joined owner and founder, Sean McCreary, in running the growing local business. We sat down with Catrina, to find out more about her new position at Urban Design Solar.

How did you get started in construction?

Catrina Zotz: I actually started working in the construction field when I was 15 as an office assistant at the company my mom worked for. I loved the construction field and, though I left it a couple times to pursue a more advanced office position, I always ended up returning to it. I just felt most at home and comfortable there.

Was working at 15 difficult alongside school?

CZ: For me, no. I was excited to work and go to school. I was enrolled in a charter school that had a home-study program. All of my school work was done at home on my own time schedule, so it was easy to work and attend college at the same time while finishing my high school credits. I graduated high school at the young age of 16! I continued to work and attend college after high school and at the age of 18, I graduated college with an associate degree in social and behavioral science and a certificate in child development. I am very proud of these accomplishments! Education is important to me and it’s something I am very passionate about. One should never stop learning! Each new experience gives us a chance to learn and grow!

And now, you are a partner in Urban Design Solar. How did that come about?

CZ: Becoming partner was a slow and gradual process. It took a lot of hard work and dedication, but that hard work and dedication paid off. When I started with the company in April 2014, I was hired as the office manager. My position quickly grew and changed as our company expanded and I learned more and more about the solar field. In December 2015, Sean and I started talking about becoming a partner. We finalized the paperwork this spring and are now announcing it to the public.

How have your duties changed?

CZ: Since becoming partner, my duties have become more focused on sales, growing the company, and managing our daily operations. I oversee all facets of the company and make sure that things run as smoothly as possible for Sean and all of our employees.

Urban Design Solar has grown primarily on word-of-mouth referrals. Why do you think that is?

CZ: We love our customers and our customers love us! I would say that most of our business comes from customer referrals. As a company, we focus on building connections with our customers and those within the community. Yelp and our website have also been a huge help in obtaining customers.We are the only local solar company in our area with a five star Yelp rating. It is something we are very proud of and a rating that we hope to continue to maintain as our business continues to grow. Customer service is very important to us and something we take seriously. We believe in the saying, “Treat others how you would want to be treated,” and we do just that. We treat our customers how we would want to be treated if we were in their shoes. As a company, we really try to go above and beyond for all our customers to make sure they are happy. Happy customers for us means more business!

Employee satisfaction has been one of the focal points of Urban Design from its inception. How do you plan on continuing this focus as a partner?

CZ: I definitely want to add to our feeling of family here and continue our policy of treating each other as such. We’re a tightlyknit team and everyone feels like family already. If an employee has a problem, we go out of our way to make sure that it’s resolved and no longer an issue. We take care of our own. Everybody looks out for each other and everybody takes care of each other. We host barbeques and other business events; we like to have fun! As a company, we very much live by the principle that if our employees are happy and can live comfortably, then everyone gets better results.

What is it like balancing family and work now that you’re a partner?

CZ: I have two daughters; one who just turned two in August, and another who turned three at the end of June. They stay home with Daddy, who has been incredibly supportive. It’s definitely abalancing act between work and family. I give my whole heart to Urban Design and then go home and put my whole heart in there. I want to be the best I can be both as a mother and professionally as a partner in the business.

What is it like being female in the more male-dominated construction industry?

CZ: It isn’t always easy, but Sean has really backed me in the business and helped me learn the industry. Adding a woman’s touch to a male-dominated industry makes a noticeable difference, and I feel that our customers appreciate it. I hope that other women who are interested in the construction industry feel encouraged to enter the field and not be discouraged simply because we are the minority. There’s so much we can bring to the table, and I’m excited to see how the industry changes as more women become involved in it.