"Looking forward, The GREEN program has definitely sparked an international thirst and I hope to take my work abroad again one day so I can both learn from more of the amazing systems similar to what I saw in Iceland and also be able to contribute to the advancement of them."
What is your story? What doesn't your resume tell us about you?
Even though I'm an engineer, expressing creativity is a huge part of my personality and I spend a lot of my free time practicing art of various mediums. I also make it a point to keep all my interactions candid and genuine.
Describe your dream job or career.
My ideal dream job would be a renewable energy feasibility engineer for custom architectural displays/buildings. I've always really enjoyed looking at a site and determining/designing the different options for energy generation and getting into the specific details of what makes it practical for the site. At the same time, I've always enjoyed working under the umbrella of an artistic endeavor and having the aesthetic pride of an architecturally unique and beautiful project combined with the technical practicality of renewable energy generation would be absolutely fantastic and worth every drop of sweat put into it.
Tell us about your leadership experiences.
I currently manage an effort to procure, fabricate, test, and install high-value data acquisition equipment for solar sites at one of the largest solar companies in the industry (SunPower). This is a very independent role requiring high flexibility, adaptability, and pro-activity. I have been trusted to handle the entire process despite having relatively little industry experience because of my results in previous leadership roles. I was also the Electrical Engineering Lead and Team Contact for the Department of Solar Decathlon 2015 international competition. This role required me to manage a team of 12 electrical engineering students as well hold a consulting role to other disciplines, especially architects and mechanical engineers, to design and construct a market leading solar-powered smart home. Creating feedback loops of communication with everyone involved and making clear action-items for my team helped lead our team to a 3rd place overall victory out of 15 other teams. Additionally, I played the main electrical design role on a demanding project for one of Silicon Valley's biggest tech companies. This required large amounts of face-to-face meeting time and coordination with other engineers, architects, contractors, and clients.
Describe a personal experience that has directly or indirectly influenced your career path.
I made a great friend with a Cal Poly grad during my work on the Solar Decathlon, despite a nearly 20 year age difference, who became a large mentor to me and opened up multiple career opportunities that I otherwise would not have had.
What is the biggest take-away and/or favorite part of your GREEN Program experience?
My favorite part was meeting all the amazingly diverse and like-minded people on our journey.
Tell us about your Capstone project experience and your journey, your team, the ideation and implementation.
Our capstone project was spurred by the idea of how inaccessible renewable energy is thought to be to lower-income households. We wanted to prove that solar panels, expensive light fixtures, and complicated automation systems aren't the only way to create a sustainable environment at home. Using our diverse team's portfolio of civil, electrical, environmental engineering, as well as architecture and business, we created a plan to tackle retrofits to existing housing for low-income families. We researched political and financial impacts and came out with a list of options to be implemented in various stages of complication, such as simple additions like low-volume faucet heads and adding insulation, to more complicated additions such as submetering water or electricity. It was an excellent experience in communicating with an international group of students and creating an idea we were all confident in.
How will you use this experience to advance your personal goals?
This experience has already shaped my larger career path. Spurred by the immaculate industrial operations in Iceland, I focused in sustainable energy and have referenced my experience in Iceland with The GREEN Program in presentations and interviews. It has always been a topic that catches peoples eyes and is easy to talk about because it was such a fun experience. The capstone experience led me to an interest in implementing my renewable energy interests into an architectural setting which then led me to the Solar Decathlon project which continues to shape my professional development. Looking forward, The GREEN program has definitely sparked an international thirst and I hope to take my work abroad again one day so I can both learn from more of the amazing systems similar to what I saw in Iceland and also be able to contribute to the advancement of them.
Where and when would you go in a time machine? Why?
I would definitely go back in time (since it's already too much fun to try and predict the future, why spoil the surprise?) to the Egyptians during their pyramid scheme and try to understand their culture better, since they had one of the most advanced empires of the ancient world. They were one of the first cultures to have such a complete array of art, writing systems, architecture, style, etc. Maybe I'd also try to bring something cool like a Tesla roadster back with me to amaze them (at the risk of being persecuted as an evil sorcerer).
Is there a documentary or book that really changed the way you thought about something, or motivated you in a particular way?
1984. It definitely continues to astound me at how accurately it predicted the direction in which our privacy goes as technology takes over. I think it certainly motivates me to think twice every time an app asks for all sorts of permissions it doesn't need to have.