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June 16, 2022

SynchroGrid’s Origin Story

SynchroGrid has just achieved double digits! As we celebrate our 10-year anniversary this June, we want to take time to reflect on our beginnings with our founder and owner, Joe Perez. Joe established SynchroGrid in 2012 to bring innovative solutions to the system protection industry—a goal that remains the same today.

Check out our interview with Joe to learn how SynchroGrid came to be.

What inspired you to become an engineer?

I’ve always been interested in science. When I was growing up in Ecuador, maybe about 13 or 14 years old, my dad would take me on field trips with him. Once we stopped at this huge hydroelectric power plant next to a large river. It was an amazing site to behold—I think that was the moment when I said to myself, “I want to do something like this someday.”

My dad was around engineers all the time, helping bring potable water to small communities. He was not an engineer and didn’t have a college degree, but he respected their work a lot and was always telling me, “You need to be an engineer.” I started college in Ecuador, but in 1996, when I was 20 years old, I came to the U.S. and eventually enrolled at Texas A&M University to major in Electrical Engineering.

What has made you successful in business?

Truthfully, I never imagined starting a company, but “sales” has always been in my blood. After I graduated college and got my first job with an electrical engineering company, I quickly got into sales. But I got into the “sales” business at an early age, maybe eight or nine years old.

Growing up in Ecuador, we lived in Guaranda, a town of about 25,000 people located within a valley of the Andes Mountain ranges. At the time, my father owned a small farm about two hours from the city. In the summers, we would join my dad on the farm and pick coffee beans.

My first summer helping him, my bag of coffee beans weighed a little more than one hundred pounds! A man paid my mother for the beans, but that money wasn’t in her hands for long. She turned and handed the money to me, saying, “This is yours! You earned it!” And I was like, “Wow. Money! I now have power! I can buy things!” And the first thing I bought with my own money was a pair of North Star sneakers. That was one of the greatest moments of my life.

How was SynchroGrid born?

If there was a “smoking gun” to my eventual career as a business owner, I would have to say it was because I wanted to implement my own ideas. Before I went out on my own, the company I was working for had about 50 percent of the market share for some of the largest utilities in the U.S., but they lost sight of what had made them successful. I felt like they needed to give their customers—and potential customers—the features they needed, not just what we had to sell them. I thought, “You have to keep innovating because if you don’t offer the features customers need and want, you’re going to lose their business.”

In my job with that company, I traveled a lot and over time, I built a network of contacts within the industry. I was at a conference and ran into a guy I knew—an engineer for one of our customers—and he told me they had a lot of work and asked me if I would have any interest in helping them. I told him I’d be happy to do some side work, and that’s really how SynchroGrid began.

Were you hesitant at all about going out on your own?

At first, I kept my job and did my side work at night. After about a month, I quit my regular job. My motivation to do so wasn’t money or the financial compensation I was receiving. I left because I was frustrated that they weren’t willing to try some of the things I wanted to explore. When I decided to start working on my own, I was hoping I could make the best of it, but after that first opportunity, I didn’t get paid for another four or five months. So, I wasn’t really what you would call an “overnight success.”

Ten years later, SynchroGrid has become a thriving company serving clients across the nation and we have nearly doubled in size every two years. Our commitment remains the same—quality work, solid experience, and innovative processes that are powering a new direction in system protection.