December 18th, 2009

7 Values Driving my Job Search in Clean Technology

Chris Williams

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What is my next step? A couple months ago I wrote about 7 things I learned from losing my dream job. Don’t worry, I wasn’t that sad. I’ve decided to share with you my journey to find a new opportunity.

What am I doing now? I’m exploring, meeting people, talking, sharing ideas, waiting for something to grab me. I’m not in a rush, it will happen, it’s like the Wild West out there. If you’d like to connect, I’d love to hear from you.

I’ve done some work with Urgent VC on a new venture call Subsea that will harness hydro power without the devastating effect of dams. I’ve also been installing solar thermal systems in Maine. It’s really fun work, I’m getting a tons of hands on experience, learning how to do site evaluations and steps and considerations when designing a system and how to install the systems. I got both of these gigs just through my direct network.

My goal is to become as knowledgeable as possible about the sales, financing, design, installation and development of wind, solar photovoltaic, solar thermal, geothermal and energy efficiency projects. My current years of experience has provided me a strong foundation from which I will continue to build upon.

I believe that it will be a combination of these technologies that is the solution to our energy problems and that the real innovation will come from the business models that deliver these services more so then the technology themselves. Its all about business processes, is McDonalds a worldwide corporation because of their burgers? No! It’s because of business processes are scalable.

I’ve been exploring a couple opportunities in renewable energy companies from project development, to sales, to energy auditing. As I explore the renewable energy industry here are values that drive my search:

  • Impact VS Money: I always value decisions based on impact that I can make versus money to make. There’s a subtle difference. Sometimes these go hand on hand sometimes they don’t.
  • Being on the Front Lines: By this I mean impacting the business. Could I work for IBM? Probably, but could I see how my action impact their bottom line or cash flow? Maybe with a microscope.
  • I want to build something: I am a builder. This is similar to being on the front lines. I need to create or help create something from nothing.
  • I need a challenge: I need a challenge so I can learn and constantly improve. I find that I do best when I’m slightly over my head. That way I can rise to the challenge and ask for help when needed.
  • Generalist: My skill set is getting the large and most important information from many pieces, seeing the opportunity and how they fit together, and executing the solution. Thus, I need a position where I can do many things and not get in depth on a single subject. Small companies and start ups are perfect for this.
  • Clean Technology space: I need to work in clean technology. It is my passion. I live it.
  • Vision: I need a company that has a lofty vision but its focused that will inspire me and be a rally cry for our customers, investors, and employees. As Guy Kawasaki says, you need to make a mantra.  Here’s a good example “We are going to cover every home in this country with solar panels”

So what? How can this help you?

If you’re in a similar situation and looking for an opportunity in clean technology keep in mind that there is going to be plenty of space for everyone and that this is just the beginning.

  1. Do your homework. Check out my Clean Tech Guide if you’re really a newbie
  2. Realize that the two most important traits are passion and ability to learn. The reality is that in a such a new industry barely anyone has a really good idea of whats going on.
  3. Ask for help. The best thing about the clean technology industry is that its about collaboration. We’re all in it together and trying to save the world. If you’re curious where you should start, just ask.
  4. Clarify what you’re looking for. Its okay if what you are looking for is what to look for.

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Chris Williams

About Chris Williams

Chris Williams is the editor of Green Light Distrikt and Chief Marketing Officer at HeatSpring . He has experience in business development, prototyping and new venture research with a focus on geothermal heat pumps, solar thermal and solar photovoltaic technologies. Chris is an IGSHPA accredited geothermal installer and NABCEP certified solar installer. Chris is focused on solving customer facing issues in the creation and adoption of clean energy technologies and products. Chris has installed over 300kW of solar and tens of geothermal systems. He's invented the PV Pal , developed many trainings at HeatSpring, publishes the NABCEP Study Guide , the Hitchhikers Guide to Cleantech and has done due diligence research for Urgent VC . Feel free to connect with him @topherwiliams , on Linkedin , or through email about new ventures, collaborating, writing, research or whatever is on your mind.