I arrived in Lakeland in October 2015 and after about a month I knew this is where I would be staying for the long haul; something about the town just felt right. A few months later I joined Catapult and this community made me feel confident in the decision to plant myself here. Just recently, I read an interview in The Lakelander with Tim Rice, the senior pastor of Trinity Presbyterian, describing how God spoke to him about the importance of planting roots. I instantly knew this was confirmation I had heard from God and landing in Lakeland was no coincidence. The Bible tells us in James that we are to rejoice for the steps of a righteous man are ordered by God. I continually pray that I will seek after God’s righteousness, especially in business affairs, so that He will continue to order my steps. I wake up every morning with purpose and renewed vigor, excited to see what’s in store as I continue to build this business.
We will miss his infectious personality in the office, but we are so happy that Ricardo found the space he needs in this next step for his company. His new office provides him optimal storage space and privacy to conduct his numerous phone calls throughout the day, all while keeping him in a creative business community.
We had a chat with Ricardo to catch up since Catapult.
Q+A with Ricardo Rivera
Catapult: What was the breaking point when you realized it was your time to move out of Catapult?
Ricardo: I began taking in a lot of equipment for jobs, had plans to hire more employees, and was keeping in mind what was next. With guidance from Ashley Cheek at the LEDC, I met with Laura Helm to speak about her new venture at Haus 820 and The Collective. After hearing about her vision and the people involved, it was clear this was the next logical step for my business.
Catapult: How was the transition from working out of a Semi-Private Office in Catapult to your own space?
Ricardo: This transition has been great. I am known to make numerous calls on a daily basis and, being a loud New Yorker, I have no reservations for how vocal I am on the phone. My new office provides me the comfortability of my own space without having to worry if I’m interrupting others at work, not to mention dedicated storage space for all of my equipment.
Catapult: What are some wins for your business since you’ve moved into your new space?
Ricardo: The work that I’ve done for Haus 820 and The Collective has been a huge win. I sent my intern, Robert Tito, to quote a space 2 months before I moved into this office and didn’t hear anything back from the potential client. The same client visited Haus 820 for an event, saw the security installations I had done there, and called me the next day. This space has been nothing but a blessing so far.
Catapult: How have you developed your customer family? What are your secrets to customer growth?
Ricardo: I put my heart into every single project. Every job I take on gets my full attention, I don’t like to do things halfway. It is incredibly important to me to be personal and authentic with every client. I try to conduct myself in the same manner in both my personal and professional life.
Catapult: Have you been able to hire any new employees?
Ricardo: I have been able to hire 2 part-time employees as-needed. I currently employ an engineering intern and an installation technician.
Catapult: Have any of your goals changed from when you first started to now?
Ricardo: When I first started, I didn’t want to say no to business. I have since simplified my scope of services to small and medium-sized companies and moved away from larger projects. As fun as it can be to travel to jobs, I want to keep business in Lakeland and give back as much as I can to the community here.
Catapult: Which specific aspect of Catapult can you look back on and identify as the most helpful to your business?
Ricardo: Networking by far. One of my first clients was referred to me by Matthew Wengerd, a fellow Catapult member. I have transitioned to this office space because Laura Helm is a Catapult member. I can’t be thankful enough for the people I’ve met during my time at Catapult and everything they’ve done to propel me forward.
Catapult: What would you wish next for your business?
Ricardo: I would love to bring on full-time employees. Specifically, a project engineer and installer.