Last week, member leaders participated in a panel discussion at the Appalachian State Energy Summit that was attended by students in App State’s Building Science, Construction Management, Architecture and other degree programs. Hosted by NCBPA and following a similar panel on the previous day, this session provided two hours of questions and answers between students and these NCBPA member professionals.
About the Panel:
Students interested in internship and job opportunities in building energy efficiency, green building, high performance construction or sustainability participated in an exclusive career panel for ASU students hosted by North Carolina Building Performance Association (NCBPA). In the first half of the panel, industry professionals spoke about the different types of industry career opportunities, the education and experience needed to obtain them, and provided general recommendations for finding the right opportunity for students of various degree programs, whether in North Carolina or elsewhere.
In the second half, panelists answered questions from students on opportunities in residential homes, commercial buildings, building technologies and other topics.
Key Questions and Discussions Between Pros and Students Focused On:
- Legacy job and career opportunities between grandparents, parents and students: Several students commented that they found an interest in working with homes or buildings due to family ties and wanted to keep that legacy alive.
- There are many available jobs in the trades that pay well and offer long lasting career opportunities. In order to get one, “there is no substitute for field experience”.
- It’s okay to not know what you want to do yet. As a student, pursuing learning opportunities, internships and part-time jobs can be very helpful.
- In the past few years, companies have been shifting towards “value-based hiring” where soft skills and a potential employee’s attitude, interest and motivation are more important than technical field skills, which can be learned.
- Pros encouraged students to contact companies they are interested in directly for employment opportunities. Seek out job postings on their websites but also connect with them on LinkedIn, via email or phone, and attend industry events to meet them in person. No matter how you connect, make sure to follow-up!
- There are big opportunities across North Carolina for saving energy in buildings. Students can look to net zero energy requirements and certification programs for inspiration, but minimum code buildings need lots of help.
- By show of hands, students were knowledgeable of net zero energy buildings and the LEED certification, but none knew about building commissioning. This learning gap is a trend NCBPA has identified in universities and colleges across the state.
- While automation may replace some jobs in building performance and construction in the coming years, industry pros believe that technical positions like changing out a boiler will still require hands-on skilled labor. These types of positions may not be replaced by automation, but instead enhanced by them. Students should learn how technology and automation may impact their future jobs.
Rob Morrow – Account Executive, Building Clarity
Rob Morrow is an Account Executive at Building Clarity in Raleigh where he helps building owners and operators use analytics and innovative building technologies to create end-to-end building solutions that deliver meaningful energy saving, financial and operational results. Rob has been helping owners make their buildings more safe, secure and efficient over a twenty year career spanning the globe in every vertical market and industry. He has extensive experience on the design, construction and operation of new and existing buildings. He specializes in the systems that directly impact occupant comfort and safety: HVAC, controls, security, fire alarm, mass notification, gas detection and others. He lives in Cary with his wife and three kids ages 10, 8 and 3. Be kind to him; he is a Mets fan.
Jesse Gary – Regional Director, Franklin Energy
Regional Director Jesse Gary, MA, leads operations in Franklin Energy’s East Region with primary responsibility for Duke Energy’s Multifamily Energy Efficiency and Home Energy House Call programs across five states. Jesse joined Franklin Energy with nearly a decade of experience leading energy savings and renewable energy initiatives with the U.S. Department of Energy, U. S. Department of State, and U.S. Air Force.
Jonathan Gach – Energy Upgrade Program Manager, Green Built Alliance
Jonathan Gach (pronounced Gahk) is the Energy Upgrade Program Manager at Green Built Alliance in Asheville where he manages the nonprofit’s Blue Horizons Project field work. Jonathan studied environmental policy, business and economics at UNC Asheville and early in his career worked in estate sustainability at Biltmore. Jonathan holds certifications from the Building Performance Institute, the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners and is a licensed Home Inspector in North Carolina. Jonathan is a Board Member of North Carolina Building Performance Association. When not at work, Jonathan can be found deep into home improvement projects of his 1890s home in Saluda, NC with his wife.
NCBPA Workforce Development Resources:
NCBPA leads efforts to improve the performance of homes and buildings in North Carolina and connects students to hiring companies through its online Job Board, Job Seekers Board and other workforce development activities. The association offers all students a free membership to improve their industry knowledge and connect them to internships, part-time and full-time job and career opportunities.