The Always Empowered Story…
Always Empowered was founded by me, Joey D’Angelo in 2012, after building a solar generator in the living room of my San Francisco loft. I was inspired to do so after being unimpressed with the consumer options for solar generators, but really impressed with the military options. The military grade prices were just too expensive, so I set out to build one for myself and the SG1A was born!
Since 1998, I had lived in San Francisco and enjoyed all the excitement that the city had to offer a young 20-to-30-something. One day, a neighbor was assaulted while walking home from a neighborhood restaurant (everybody walks everywhere, and everybody has their local watering hole in each San Francisco neighborhood). He literally woke up in a hospital with half of his head missing, without even knowing what happened. One minute he was walking home, the next he was in a hospital. This event woke me up and made me start to observe my surroundings on a deeper level. I had realized that I was living in a big city, with 750,000 fellow residents, many of which, would resort to crime in an emergency. In addition, crime was on the rise with the passage of various propositions to ease jail overcrowding. The realization was that if something bad ever happened, I had better be prepared to be on my own. Having a reliable power source became a central part of being prepared. But how did I come to have the expertise to build such a thing? Here’s the story…
Back in 1990, I was a kid who loved to tinker in the garage with my Dad’s tools. My parents had bought a 1985 Jeep Wrangler with the intention of letting me drive it, when I turned 16, provided I kept my grades above a 3.0. It was a wise parenting move now that I think about it, because I kept that puppy shiny clean and in tip top shape when I was still 13 or 14 years old! I also kept my grades high. I wasn’t a straight A student, but I was always on the honor roll, which was a challenge for me sometimes. I’m the type of person that is good with their hands, but bad at memorizing things, unless I really understand them. One essential component of every teenager’s car in that era, was to have a loud stereo system. This is when I started building speaker boxes, installing amplifiers, and eventually doing stereo systems for my friends from my parent’s garage. Once I started driving on my own, word got around about my car’s stereo system, and before I knew it, there was a 3 month waiting list for my installation services. It was during this time that I learned all things 12 volts. I eventually was offered a job at a local stereo shop while I attending Cal State University Bakersfield, for electrical engineering.
While going to school, and working at the stereo shop, I had the opportunity to build and wire systems that were featured as demo vehicles at 2 consumer electronics shows in Las Vegas. One of these vehicles was even exhibited in the Tokyo Auto Show! Life was good and I had become really comfortable with working on 12 volt systems of any type.
In 1996, I had been fortunate enough to be accepted to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, for Industrial Technology, after three attempts and a major change. I had also begun showing my personal vehicle competitively at car stereo competitions. On the weekends, I was always in various cities across California racking up points so I could be invited to the world championships which were being held in Greenville, South Carolina. I had picked up enough points, gotten a sponsor that would transport my car there, and was ready to go….all while keeping my grades high and working at a San Luis Obispo stereo shop for food and speakers basically.
After graduating from Cal Poly, I accepted a job at a consulting firm called Charles M. Salter Associates, Inc., which is a specialty consulting firm that designs large audio and video systems for stadiums, theaters, museums, amusement parks, corporate venues, retail, educational, or hospitality-oriented facilities. My hands on fabrication and low voltage experience were very helpful to me in my time at Charles Salter, and I stayed at the firm for 18 years, ultimately rising to the level of Vice President. In the fall of 2015, many things happened that forever changed my life. The first game changer was that I met my wife. The second major event was that I was offered a job at QSC Systems, which is one of the largest manufacturers of audio and video products in the United States. This job allowed me to move out of San Francisco to Southern California, and utilize my project experience assisting QSC’s global end users.
These days, I have been able to leverage my skills to help Always Empowered grow. Always Empowered features a completely inter operable ecosystem of EMP shielded solar generators, solar generator boost kits, wind turbine boost kits, bulletproof solar backpacks, EMP shielded cases, and soon…even a GAS powered boost kit. We also plan to expand the line to include a hydro power kit, a small 12-volt EMP shielded refrigerator, and a hot water heater/pump. A lot of solar companies started off with the mantra of producing power because it’s green and good for the environment. Our mantra is that we are not here to save the environment. We’re here to save your ass in uncertain times.
I’m very excited about what the future holds for Always Empowered and I ask you to join me on this journey, as I write periodically on this blog to keep you informed of all the things we have going on! Now that you know my story, feel free to reach out and ask any questions you might have, or let me know how I can help you! I literally read every single email and respond immediately. (firstname.lastname@example.org or 415-377-7107)