Recent Solar Energy Technology Program graduate David Baggs believes that it’s never too late to start a new career.
When Baggs enrolled at Ecotech Institute, he already had a 25-year-long successful career as an accountant for a variety of small businesses in Colorado. However, despite having a stable job and a reliable source of income, he felt that something in his life was missing.
“I made really good money at my previous job,” says Baggs. “But at the same time, that career just wasn’t as fulfilling as I’d like. I’ve always had a desire to go into more engineering-related trades — something that requires a bit more field work, and where I could be more active and environmentally conscious.”
Starting over is never easy, especially when it comes to resetting your career and acquiring a completely new set of skills. However, after meeting with one of Ecotech Institute’s student advisors and learning about what the school had to offer, Baggs felt empowered to move ahead.
“We spoke about the available programs, classes, the industries to which Ecotech Institute ties, and things just clicked in my head,” says Baggs. “It really opened my mind to the current career potential in the energy and sustainability sectors.”
Finding a Solar Energy Job
Now a graduate, Baggs is excited to start his new career with a promising renewable energy startup that designs solutions for commercial and utility scale projects. He will serve as a knowledgeable resource, consulting the company on new solar array designs and other projects to ensure that they are workable and comply with local electrical codes.
Baggs credits Ecotech Institute’s Career Development team with introducing him to the company.
“After completing my studies, I had an exit interview with Ecotech Institute’s Director of Career Development Jennifer Condreay,” he says. “We spoke at length about my career goals, and as soon as she had a fitting job opportunity, she reached out to me and helped set up the initial interview.”
Baggs’ prior experience in the finance industry gave him an unexpected edge as a job seeker.
“There is a good deal of experience that I was able to carry over into my new career,” says Baggs.“ My background in the finance field gives me a better understanding of where the renewable energy economy is going. It also made me more confident going to job interviews because I am able to better understand what companies are looking for in candidates from the financial standpoint.”
One of the things Baggs appreciates the most about his learning experience at Ecotech Institute is the “personal feel” and the faculty’s individualized approach to each student.
“From the instructors, program directors and the Dean’s Office, to the administrative and support staff — everyone has been very tactful, helpful and supportive throughout my studies there. Specifically, on the solar side, Dan Fink, Chris Janin, Joe Burdick, and Pat Longstreth are excellent instructors. A lot of the material they taught, I now utilize every day. Even some of the core classes in wiring, AC-DC circuitry and safety practices have proven to be very important to me in my field work as a technician,” Baggs says. “It really helps to have teachers who are personally invested in their students, and I saw that at Ecotech Institute. I really can’t say enough about how great everyone there is.”
Baggs’ advice to current students and to anyone who is considering switching or starting their careers in the renewable energy industry is to ask questions.
“There are no bad questions.” he says, “The only bad question is the one that’s never asked. Those who ask questions and those who put energy and enthusiasm into their learning are typically the ones who achieve the best results.”
Interested in solar energy innovations? Check out our blog post about solar-powered inventions that could change the world.