Are you happy with your current job? If the answer is no, don’t worry. Most people have felt stuck in their careers at some point. That’s how Eric Marlow felt before enrolling at Ecotech Institute.
Today, Marlow works as a project manager at Anderson Burton in Arroyo Grande, California. Anderson Burton is a California-based general contracting company that provides professional consulting services, including planning, design, engineering, construction, environmental consulting and more.
Keep reading to learn how energy training helped Marlow get out of a rut and what advice he has for anyone who wants to start over in their career.
Deciding on a Career in Energy
Marlow was 21 years old when he first got the feeling that something was missing in his career.
“At the time, I was working as a sales manager at a retail store. I managed a team of 12 people and was doing just fine financially,” says Marlow. “But I wasn’t getting the type of fulfillment that I wanted from a career.”
He tried a traditional four-year college, but quickly realized that it wasn’t for him.
“I was searching for a career that would not only be meaningful, but also sustainable long-term,” he adds.
The idea came from his family.
“My dad, my grandfather, my mom and many other family members have all worked in the nuclear energy industry. They all knew very well that energy industry professionals will always be in demand,” Marlow recalls. “If there are two things people will always need in the world, it’s water and electricity. Retail, construction and other industries may go up and down over time, but a career in energy will be sustainable for life.”
As a school dedicated solely to preparing graduates for careers in the energy industry, Ecotech Institute became the obvious choice for Marlow. Within weeks, he rented an apartment, packed his things and moved from Grass Valley, California, to Aurora, Colorado to pursue his new career path.
Attending Ecotech Institute
On top of that, he also became involved in a number of extracurricular activities, including serving as the school’s student ambassador. Marlow completed all three programs and graduated with an impressive 3.97 GPA.
One of the things that stood out the most to Marlow about his educational experience at Ecotech Institute was the school’s hands-on approach to learning.
“Being around and learning from the instructors who actually worked in the field was very beneficial,” he says. “I believe that being taught by people who have real-world experience is much more effective than learning from those who have only been in the world of academia.”
Finding an Energy Industry Job
In the end, Marlow’s efforts paid off. As an Anderson Burton employee, he works with companies, organizations and governmental agencies, including the Department of Defense. And even though his current work is not always directly related to renewable energy, Marlow attributes much of his career success to his Ecotech Institute training.
“As a general contracting company, we subcontract a lot of our work, but we do perform the electrical work ourselves,” says Marlow. “As a project manager for our electrical division, I manage our team of electricians, and that’s where all the electrical training I got at Ecotech Institute is very helpful. Although I’m not an electrician myself, I can be confident in communicating with and managing my team thanks to all the residential and industrial wiring knowledge I got at the school.”
Marlow’s training in solar technology has also helped him at his current job. For one of the company clients, he recently oversaw the completion of two major solar projects: a 600,000-Watt ground-mount solar array and a 200,000-Watt ground-mount solar array.
He admits: “Having that understanding of solar was really beneficial because I could be on site and speak competently with the client.”
More from our blog: How to Stand Out to Renewable Energy Employers
The Secret to Successfully Switching Careers
Marlow’s secret is simple: “Do the work.” And this is also what he advises to current students or anyone considering studying for a career in energy.
“Every single day after I got done with my classes, I would sit in the library doing my homework for whatever was next,” he recalls. “I strongly believe that hard work pays off. If you do the homework and ask questions, you’ll be successful in the class, you’ll be successful in your career and you’ll be successful in life.”
From accounting to solar energy — read how another Ecotech Institute graduate changed careers.
Interested in training for a career in the energy industry? Read about 4 Ways to Help Pay for Energy Career Training.