As a way to commemorate the closing of Hispanic Heritage Month 2021 we spoke with Xochitl Lara Del Rosal, COO of C-E Electric and alumni of our 2019 Accelerate Latinx City of Houston OBO Cohort. We discussed her trials and tribulations during Covid-19 as well as the effect of the Latinx program on her business.
Xóchitl’s father started the C-E Electric just as she was graduating from high-school in 2013. When Xóchitl went to college, she simultaneously was getting her degree in business. “I would help my father fill out invoices or proposals and one day he told me he really wanted to grow the business and asked if I could help. I took it as a once in a lifetime opportunity and said okay let’s do it.” The two have been in business together ever since and in February 2021 they officially became an LLC.
Xóchitl explained that becoming an LLC was both exciting and challenging because she had to learn all of the regulations and structures that being an LLC required. On top of that, she wanted to ensure that all of her employees were on the same page about what the business was going to look like moving forward and ultimately instill a cohesive company culture. As Xóchitl said, “creating a culture for a company is really challenging; It is something that you envision but doesn’t always go the way you want it to.”
Covid-19 forced her to do everything virtually which made the process much more difficult. She was trying to get everyone excited and on board with the way things were going to get done all the while trying to balance her own concerns about what the future held for her business.
“You don’t want your employees to see you sweat because you don’t want them to be worried, but the reality was that business was not going as planned. We do a lot of work with copper and aluminum and the prices for the wire were soaring and because of that we couldn’t find enough material to supply our demand. Our projects got pushed back more than 3 months as a result.”
Xóchitl explained that another challenge she was facing during the pandemic was finding a good accountant. She explained that what ended up saving her was being able to network with her fellow Latinx alumni. It turned out that one of the women in her program, Raquel, was an accountant herself.
“I took the program when I was 24 and everyone there was so encouraging and helpful. I am still in contact with them and being able to maintain those relationships has been huge.”
In fact, Xóchitl and Raquel are currently in the middle of a major business deal together. Raquel works for a general contractor, Oreon Design Group, and C-E Electric is currently in the process of bidding close to a million-dollar contract with them. “We have the green light, now the issue is around funding but regardless we have the go-ahead which is super exciting.”
Xóchitl added “The growth we experienced after the program was due in large part to the relationships I was able to gain and the networking I was able to do with my cohort.”