Kate Collardon is the Senior Manager of Residential Operations at Omnidian. This is her career story.
You work at a company called Omnidian. If you had one minute to describe the purpose and mission of the company to your grandma, what would you say?
Omnidian is a software company. We make a software that monitors solar that is in use. So arrays that are on rooftops, arrays that are in fields. Our software monitors them and then proactively alerts to any issues that arise. So if something breaks, we send an alert and then we try to fix it over the phone. If we can't fix it over the phone, then we'll send somebody out into the field to make the repair and get the system back online and running. So it's a really critical service that we provide by helping owners and system operators keep solar producing clean energy throughout the life of the system.
What is your job title at Omnidian and what does a typical day look like for you?
My job title is senior manager of residential operations. But what I do is support the customer service team. So it's my job to help my team be as efficient as possible. I spend a lot of time looking at their processes and seeing how they can be improved, working with the team to make those improvements and working to help keep our customers happy.
Why are you interested in solar energy and decarbonization?
It's my goal to help maintain a habitable planet. The path we're on right now does not bode well for the habitability of the planet we live on. And so I spend my days working to maintain our planet's habitability for my lifetime and the lifetime of my children and their children.
What did you do before entering solar and how did you make you way to the industry?
Before joining the industry, I worked in construction and I really loved working with my hands. And one day I decided that I wanted to find a job that combined my love for working with my hands with my passion for the environment. And I was lucky enough to find a job as an entry level solar installer and have been in the industry ever since then. That was in 2006, and almost 20 years later, 18 years later, I'm still working in the same industry.
What has been your proudest accomplishment while working in the solar industry?
I've had the opportunity to work on some very cool projects in my time in the solar industry. One of my earliest projects was putting solar on the visitor center at the south rim of the Grand Canyon. I've also had the opportunity to put solar on the carousel at the National Zoo in Washington, DC. But I would say that the thing that I'm proudest of is the work that I do today at Omnidian in general, it's incredibly important that the solar that we have in existence works. And the work that we do at Omnidian is to ensure that the solar is working. It doesn't matter how much solar we install on the planet if the solar is broken, if it doesn't work. And at Omnidian, we ensure that the solar is working. And that just makes me incredibly proud.
If you met someone aspiring to land a job in solar, what words of advice would you share?
When people come to me saying they want to get into solar, I always direct them toward training. Training is the most important step, first step to getting into this industry, in my opinion. And there are lots of options out there for training on solar installation, solar design and running a solar business. There are lots of options, and I think that that's the best first step.