Even from a younger age, Kate Collardson was devoted to saving the planet.
“When folks would ask me what I needed to be after I grew up, I mentioned I needed to be a naturalist,” Collardson mentioned. “To me, that meant somebody who cares in regards to the atmosphere and works to maintain the planet livable.”
Initially from Corsicana, Texas, her ardour for the atmosphere by no means light, although she developed a love for the German language, in addition to literature and historical past. Kate attended Colorado School and graduated with a bachelor’s diploma in German. Whereas attending faculty, she found a ardour for working along with her fingers and woodworking, resulting in a profession in carpentry. Whereas engaged on a job in Arizona, Collardson inadvertently made a flip into the photo voltaic trade.
“I mentioned out loud that I needed a job that mixed my love of working with my fingers with my love for the atmosphere,” mentioned Collardson. “I then opened the newspaper to see a job itemizing that learn, ‘Needed: Carpenter/Photo voltaic Installer.’ The itemizing even famous that they might practice in photo voltaic set up, so I utilized and was employed.”
The job was the start of a three-and-a-half 12 months profession as a photo voltaic installer, which ultimately led to being employed by CertainTeed as a Photo voltaic Technical Assist Consultant. In her 12 years since becoming a member of the photo voltaic trade, Collardson has earned a number of certifications, together with NABCEP (North American Board of Licensed Power Practitioners) certification, a Technical Certificates in Sustainable Expertise and Administration, in addition to an MBA from Arizona State College.
She has additionally obtained a number of promotions since becoming a member of CertainTeed, coming into her present position as a Photo voltaic Companies Supervisor in 2015. Though she has worn many various hats in her profession, Collardson continues to be enthusiastic about her work and the affect it has—each on folks and the planet.
“I like that the work I do has an impression on local weather change,” mentioned Collardson. “Nonetheless, my favourite exercise I do in my job is coaching. I like serving to folks perceive new issues. It’s nice to see an individual’s face gentle up as they perceive a brand new idea. I’ve the privilege of having the ability to maintain in-person trainings at trade occasions, and I get to affix set up crews on the roof to coach them on our merchandise.”
Although there have been regular will increase of ladies within the trades, Collardson nonetheless represents a minority within the photo voltaic workforce. In line with the Photo voltaic Basis’s Nationwide Photo voltaic Jobs Census, solely 27 p.c of photo voltaic staff have been ladies in 2017.
“It’s troublesome being a ladies within the photo voltaic area, similar to it’s in each different trade,” mentioned Collardson. “It’s not all easy crusing, however from my perspective, it may be simpler than it’s in different trades. My private expertise, at the same time as an installer, is that the general public I work with don’t care about my gender.”
Her recommendation for ladies concerned with entering into the photo voltaic trade? Be courageous.
“Bravery is doing one thing despite the fact that you’re afraid,” mentioned Collardson. “It’s necessary to know that it’s frequent to be scared. Many people have a voice in our head that tells us we’re not ok or not sensible sufficient or that we needs to be afraid. Although it’s scary, it’s necessary to be courageous within the face of those fears. Once we do that, we open the door to new prospects.”