Written by The Business Journal Staff
Araceli Ortiz Decamp, Owner
Ortiz LED Solutions
What we do: LED lighting projects for schools, hospitals, churches, property managers, and businesses big and small
Education: UDG Preparatoria Guadalajara and Reedley College.
Family: One daughter attending UC Davis majoring in biochemical engineering, my husband and business partner.
How did you get into the lighting distribution business, Araceli?
My husband and I have always wanted to have our own business; it took us two years of research, planning and learning the new technology while doing small LED jobs part-time to decide that this was the right business for us.
There is no question that the LED lighting technology is going to become the standard lighting source for everyone as the cost savings are huge and at the same time it is an environmentally friendly product. The potential to grow is great as far as you take care of your customers correctly. We pride ourselves for having great customer service skills and going above and beyond to ensure customers are satisfied with products and services.
Did you have previous experience in the electrical industry, Araceli?
My husband/business partner was involved in building new manufacturing facilities and won a design award for Electrical Excellence on a large building project in Ohio.
What made you decide to focus on such a specific product, Araceli?
Having always been involved in reducing cost of operations for manufacturing and warehousing, we understand that businesses are always looking for ways to reduce cost. After researching and educating ourselves on LED lighting technology, we knew that this is the way of the future not only for cost reduction, but also for long life and being environmentally friendly.
Has the demand for LED solutions increased in recent years or do you still have to inform customers about the product, Araceli?
The demand for LED lighting has tripled, but there are still many people that don’t fully understand the benefits of this technology. Therefore, we have an innovative show room where we can explain and demonstrate to customers how this technology works. We still do lots of training and education for our customers. Lighting has changed from the old way and understanding the difference between Color Temperature (Kelvin) and Color Rendition (CRI) and how lighting affects circadian rhythm can bring many questions that we are more than happy to answer.
You recently became the first business to be certified by the Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce’s Green Team. What does that certification mean for the business, Araceli?
We have always been thinking GREEN and when the opportunity came about to register as a certified green business, it was something we were very interested in. Being green often times saves money and is not that difficult to do, you just need to focus and look at how you do things and what you can do to be more friendly to the environment. It’s not rocket science and many people are already doing things. It just means pulling everything together and developing a long-term strategy.
What was the process like?
Pretty simple, some things we took for granted and just needed to capture what we were doing and change some of what we were not doing. With help from the Fresno Green Team and the Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce, the process was easy to complete. We would recommend anyone interested to contact Tate Hill at the FMBCC to learn how.
Was it hard to meet the requirements, Araceli?
Not at all, most of it was fun to be involved in. My husband got to do some things just because it was interesting. Some may not have huge savings in our small office but everything adds up to significant savings.
What are some of the changes you had to make?
Switching to 100% recycled paper, changing from bottled water to using a water dispenser in the office.
What are some of the key industry trends you see emerging over the next few years?
More and more controls on lighting devices will be the big push, and with that comes technology that people are not used to. Occupancy sensors, vacancy sensors, dimmers and daylight harvesting will be added to most everything.
How are you preparing for them now, Araceli?
We already have a line of products that have all the controls and the schools love them. We continue to work with our manufacturing plants to push for more and more integration.
What are some of the goals you have left for Ortiz LED Solutions?
We want to keep it a family business but we certainly want to grow. Maintaining a good balance is important.
What has been the biggest challenge to opening and managing the business, Araceli?
Capital always seems to be number one! We did not want to take on lots of debt and used all our resources to open the business and grow it organically. As we continue to grow, keeping debt down will be key.
What has been your proudest accomplishment?
Developing the business and building strong relationships along the way is and will be our proudest part of the building the business. When we started we felt that this saying was very important to us. “Cuentas Claras amistades largas” which simply means Long Friendships – Clear Accounts.
Who has been a mentor for you and what did you learn from him/her? Tim Bremer owner of Harris Electric has been my husband’s mentor for business planning and overall strategy. His knowledge of the electrical business and Fresno has been invaluable.
What do you like to do in your spare time, Araceli?
We have not had much spare time, but we like to keep improving our home, which we call our private paradise and enjoy a glass of wine when we relax by the pool. Of course having family and friends over makes it much more fun!