As I continue to work from home, I am grateful for the close collaboration I have been able to maintain with my colleagues through the magic of technology. Even though we haven’t seen each other face-to-face, except for a quick birthday drive-by in April, one of the benefits has been having time to catch up with our director of marketing, Gayle Haden, without her having a long daily commute. We recently talked about what led her to work in solar and the similarities and differences between her last job and what she does at Quest.
What led you to / why do you like working in solar?
My interest in solar began during my time working for a Kenya-based non-profit. The non-profit, with offices in Atlanta, is committed to empowering Kenyan families and their surrounding communities to care for orphans and abandoned babies. They empower and sustain families by providing basic necessities, delivering life skills training to prepare older children to achieve independence, offering support to keep families together whenever possible, training parents/guardians to master sale-able skills, and imparting spiritual and emotional support.
While working at the non-profit, I had the opportunity to travel to Kenya, and I have also traveled to remote parts of India, Puerto Rico and Costa Rica. These travels allowed me to see firsthand energy inequity across the globe and led me to think about alternatives to conventional energy systems, especially in remote areas. I am excited to have the opportunity to work in an industry that’s committed to helping the environment and society.
Are there similar mission driven aspects between your last job and your job at Quest?
Prior to coming to Quest, one of the favorite parts of my job was leading mission teams to Kenya to partner with the Kenyan staff and support them in the important work they are doing in their country to empower and sustain families. At Quest, even though my day-to-day work isn’t saving lives, I do believe that we are making great strides to help protect our physical environment and turn back the clock on climate change.
What insights do you bring to the market given your prior work?
I believe my experience in advocating for the voices of children lends itself well to advocating for energy equity for people of all ages. I have met many individuals in our industry who are passionate about protecting our environment for future generations and turning back the clock on climate change.
From a marketing perspective, what have been the most interesting trends you have observed?
In my 3+ years in solar, I have observed two major trends – the economics of solar have grown exponentially as the price has decreased, and the innovations in battery storage are poised to further expand our industry’s growth. With solar becoming more affordable for individuals and businesses, I expect to see the adoption and development of solar begin to take off over the next several years. As the demand for solar increases, I foresee the innovations in battery storage developing at a more rapid pace to keep up with that demand.
One company I like to follow is Renewvia Energy. They have been constructing microgrids in Kenya and Nigeria for the last five years and plan to continue expansion in both countries. Through their work in Africa, they are increasing energy access in rural communities similar to the ones where I have worked. I also follow We Care Solar. They designed a solar suitcase to power health clinics in the developing world. The work of these two companies, and many others, is contributing to increased energy access around the world.
Quest is also working to develop a canopy system that can be built and lifted more easily and efficiently and will be easy to deploy in remote locations. We already have a product that can be deployed in high wind remote areas (think Puerto Rico and Carribean nations) that are affected by tropical storms and hurricanes each year.
Most of the trade magazines are very technically focused, what do you think is missing as a non technical person?
I would like to see more entry level, solar 101-type webinars and articles. As the solar industry prepares for growth over the next several years and begins to recruit veterans and expand its diversity and inclusion initiative, the industry will be attracting people who are new to solar. The industry will need a way to rapidly onboard them and get them up to speed as efficiently as possible.