Castillo Engineering

As Florida’s most experienced solar and energy storage engineering firm, Castillo’s solar engineers design site-specific systems that enable our clients to install faster and more profitably. Castillo leads the market in fast turnaround time, code compliance and permitting success; all supported by a live technical support team that eliminates our clients’ and homeowners’ exposure, risk, and liability.




Architectural, Engineering, & Related Services


Orange County


742% increase from
2017 – 2020


1600% increase from
2017 – 2020

Christopher Castillo


Tell us about the company and how you got started on your entrepreneurial journey.

Rick Castillo is my business partner and my father, and we each own 50%. He’s the founder and president of the firm and I’m the CEO. I got started on the path to entrepreneurship when I was a little kid. Some kids want to be a professional athlete, a movie star, a doctor, or a dentist. I wanted to be the CEO of a company. I would see CEOs on TV and that’s something I always aspired to.

I have to give a lot of credit to my father. I was about 12 years old when I realized this, and I remember telling him, “Dad, look at the CEO of the Ford Motor Company at this press conference. It’s so amazing! I wish I could do that one day.” And I remember he distinctly looked at me and said, “Well, somebody has to do it. Why not you?” That stuck with me.

The second incident that drove me to entrepreneurship was when I was about the same age, I realized the chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola was a Cuban immigrant. He was my grandfather’s age and they both emigrated to the United States about the same time. I’m half Cuban from my mother’s side, and my father is from Venezuela. I thought to myself, “He did it, he emigrated to this country just like my family did, and he worked his way up and became one of the most successful CEOs of one of the largest corporations in the entire world. If this individual can do it, why not me?”

Talk about the evolution of Castillo Engineering.

My father is a professional engineer. I’m not. A lot of professional engineering firms are one-man shows, operating out of their house as sole proprietorships with maybe one or two CAD operators working in the basement together. That’s what my father was. He’s a brilliant man, a rocket scientist, and an electrical engineer as well, and he was doing work in the light commercial space. One of his customers needed to expand their warehouse and do an interior build-out because their company was growing, so he designed that building.

They constructed it and moved in, and then they came back to him and said, “Well, can you also engineer the products that we distribute?” The products happened to be solar panels, and that was how my father got into the industry. That was back in the early 2000s, and it was a very, very niche market. His name started to spread by word of mouth. Then in 2007, he was awarded a one-megawatt rooftop solar design for the Orange County Convention Center. At the time, that was the largest rooftop system in the Southeast. That really put his name on the map.

But the company was still a one-man show, and it was difficult for him to grow the business without a partner. When I came out of college in 2008, I talked to my father and  said, “Hey, I want to go into business with you.” And he replied, “No, you need to go do your own thing. Learn from other people and then possibly, in the future, we can work together.”

So, fast-forward to about four years ago, I was working in the medical device industry in sales and contracting, and that gave me a lot of business experience. I came to him and said, “I think the market is maturing. Let me help you with some marketing and sales.” I also looked at his books and his margins and I looked at the market, and I said, “We have a really, really great opportunity here.” That was at the end of  2017, and the company had $300,000 in billings. Today, four years later, we’re going to finish the year at $4.1 million.

What does the company bring to its customers? What makes Castillo Engineering different?

We are a professional engineering firm, specifically, we’re electrical engineers. We design systems for our customers, solar contractors, and developers of large-scale solar farms. When you construct a house or commercial building, you need a set of blueprints from an engineer. Same thing with solar farms or solar rooftop systems. Someone needs to design it, make sure it meets code, obtain the permits, and secure an agreement with the utility company. We create those designs.

What makes us different is our mission, vision, and values. Our mission is to be “The go-to solar engineering firm” for the entire country. Our vision is Solar done right for a better future. That means that whenever our customers think of solar and say, “I need a design” or if they just have a question we want to be the company they call because we have the answers. We chose “solar done right” because we don’t want to be looked at as just the design partner. We want to be looked at as experts in this industry. It feels good to be leaders of an industry that’s helping the environment.

Our values drive our company the most. It’s about the power of the three P’s: passion, process, and people. The first P is passion because you must be passionate about what you do. You have to be passionate about this industry. You have to be passionate about your job, whether you’re the receptionist all the way up to the president of the company, you have a purpose on this Earth and you have a purpose at this firm. Passion is about self-improvement and striving for perfection.

The second P is process. We’re an extremely process-driven company — there is a process for everything from picking up the phone to answer customers’ emails to doing the engineering and designs to selling our products. A documented process creates clarity for our customers, so they know exactly what’s going on, and it also creates clarity for each employee so they know their place in the operation. And then the third P, people, that’s the number one thing in business.  We empower everyone here.

Talk about the culture of the company. What is it like to work there?

We’re not just a family-owned business, we’re a family-oriented business. We understand how much time you’re going to be spending at work, so we want to make sure it’s a family environment and that the spouses and children at home are part of the journey with us.

What are some of the challenges you’ve found in growing the business? What keeps you up at night as the business owner?

What keeps me up at night is maintaining the same level of quality that our customers deserve as we continue to grow so quickly. We made the Inc. 5000 list — we were the 652nd-fastest-growing company in America. So, what keeps me up at night is making sure I have a strategic plan in place and that the plan is correct or at least as accurate as possible to maintain our growth without scarifying quality.

I think the biggest thing, though, to grow your business is making sure you find and recruit the correct employees, employees who are aligned with your values. Finding the right talent is what keeps me up at night right now.  

Talk about what your goals are for the next few years. Where do you see the business going?

About 85% of our business is currently in the residential space. However, the utility market, the solar farm industry, is three times larger than residential, so the growth vertical for us is absolutely getting into utility design. That’s become a big focus for us.

What has been your proudest moment so far as the CEO?

I started in January 2018, and in December of that year, we finalized our healthcare plan. I signed that years ago and it still makes me emotional. That was my proudest moment, making sure the employees had health care.

What does it mean to you to be selected as a GrowFL Florida Company to Watch honoree?

It’s a wonderful honor. You work so hard every day, and it feels nice to be recognized. I make sure that whenever there are great accomplishments within the firm, I recognize the company and the individuals, so it’s really nice that my team and my company and all the family members within it are being honored. It’s nice that all the hard work everyone’s putting in is being recognized by a third party.

What do you think this recognition means to your employees?

They’re very proud of themselves and very proud of being part of this team. But also, it’s a reminder to let them know we are growing, which creates opportunity. When we made the Inc. 5000, we got together and had a “rank reveal.” We kept it a secret until a certain date when we had dinner, and everybody guessed what number we’d be ranked and there was a prize.

I had everybody stand up that day who had been with the company a year or longer because we’ve onboarded so many new employees. We’re growing so fast. And I said, “Sit down if you haven’t received a promotion or a raise.” Everybody kept standing. It shows we’re selecting the right people, and that they are buying into the process and the culture. As we continue to grow, it just opens the doors for new positions and new promotions. So, I think that’s what it means for them. It’s a reminder that the company is on the right track, and they’re on a rocket ship.

Is there anyone you’d like to thank?

Of course, my father! But I’d like to thank all my immediate family members: my mother, Maria, my sister, Amanda, my brother, Blake, my late grandfather, Jose, and my grandmother, Marta. They just, they always believed in me.

My advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is…

"Never give up on your dreams. You can do it. Also surround yourself with people who believe in you. And find a mentor — someone who cares and believes in you and who’s gone through what you’re experiencing, someone who can guide you through. It's nice to pick up the phone and talk to someone who’s been through this before and can help you navigate in a way that will accelerate your business much faster."

Celebrate with the Castillo Engineering team!

Tickets are on sale now for the 11th Annual GrowFL Florida Companies to Watch Awards Celebration! Don't wait, they will sell out!