Edgar North, wind turbine technician at Gratiot County Wind Farm - from service days to wind tech days!

As we close out National Veterans and Military Families Month this November, Invenergy would like to acknowledge and thank the nation’s veterans not only for their service to the country, but also for their contributions to building a more sustainable world.

Approximately 10 percent of Invenergy employees are military veterans—from colleagues at our Chicago headquarters to technicians and plant managers at our energy centers across the country.

In the second of our two-part series celebrating veterans, we feature Alyson De Soto, Invenergy Senior Associate, Asset Management and Edgar North, Wind Turbine Technician at our Gratiot County Wind Farm (110.4 MW) in Michigan.

How long have you been at Invenergy and what is your current role?

Alyson De Soto (AD): I’ve been at Invenergy almost three months as a Senior Associate on the Asset Management team, overseeing the operational and financial performance of our solar projects.
Edgar North (EN): I have been at Invenergy for three months now as a Wind Turbine Technician at Gratiot County Wind Farm in Michigan. My job is to maintain and troubleshoot wind turbines.

Tell us about your service.

AD: I was commissioned through the Naval Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program at the College of the Holy Cross in 2010 and served for nine and a half years as a Naval Flight Officer. After flight school, I moved to Norfolk, Virginia, where I served as a Mission Commander on the E-2C Hawkeye, a command and control aircraft. In 2014, I was deployed to the Middle East with the George H. W. Bush aircraft carrier, where I supported combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2016, I began working in Great Lakes, Illinois, in project management and process improvement. I worked for an Admiral as his chief of staff and special projects manager for my last two years there, overseeing the training programs of 98 percent of all Navy accessions.
EN: I served as a combat engineer in the Army for almost 7 years. I was stationed in Missouri, Texas, and did a rotation to South Korea. I left the Army as a Sergeant.

Alyson De Soto

Alyson De Soto, Senior Associate, Asset Management, as a Naval Flight Officer

How did you make the transition to the energy industry and Invenergy specifically?

AD: As I was transitioning out of the Navy this past summer, I was looking for an opportunity where I could make an impact in an industry that I felt served a deeper purpose. I was immediately drawn to the renewable energy industry and Invenergy stood out to me as a top choice. I was intrigued and excited about the fast-paced, entrepreneurial culture, and impressed by the values, growth and performance of the company.
EN: My first job out of the Army was this one. I got my foot into the door while I was still serving. I attended a two-month-long course on the basics of renewable energy, where I also learned climb training and electrical safety. I reached out to Invenergy HR department while I was in the program and spent the following month or two doing interviews until I was fortunate to land a job offer.

How did your military experience prepare you for your job? What skills, capabilities, and characteristics transfer over?

AD: During my search, Invenergy stood out as a company that valued the skills that veterans bring to the table. The leadership, management, and organizational skills I learned in the Navy have been very valuable in my current role as asset manager. The discipline and attention to detail engrained in me over the years have also been very helpful. The military expects you to be flexible and constantly take on new roles and responsibilities, to learn quickly, make independent decisions, and lead in that new environment.
EN: The skills I acquired in the military transferred well to the renewable energy field because of the constant demand for safety in both fields. Working as a wind turbine technician, you also need to be able to work effectively as a member of a team, coming from the Army I always had that constant communication with my peers and or subordinates. Both fields require the ability to work hard and to work with your hands and to be proactive and productive.

Why is it important that Invenergy maintains our commitment to hiring veterans?

AD: Veterans bring high value to any team and job environment. Not only do they have a deep sense of duty, discipline and ownership, but they bring a unique perspective and drive that any team can benefit from.
EN: Because it benefits both parties. When hiring a veteran, you get an established professional coming from the biggest organization in the United States. Veterans bring a sense of pride in the work that they do and know what it means to work as a team.

What does Veterans Day mean to you?

AD: Veterans Day is an acknowledgement of appreciation to those who made a promise to put our nation first and committed themselves to a cause and organization larger than themselves. It’s a day to celebrate those who continue to make the sacrifices needed to defend our freedom and way of life.
My grandfathers both served in the Navy during WWII. They shared their stories with pride, expressing how their experiences shaped the men they became. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the Navy and appreciate all the men and women I had the privilege of serving with.
EN: Veterans Day means a lot to me personally. It’s a time to remember our heroes who paid the ultimate price for freedom and a time to remember that many veterans are still facing a battle in the United States. Many veterans develop illnesses and are harmed during their time in the service. Veterans Day is a day that shines a light on these issues and pushes people to have a sense of pride in the country.

Aly and Edgar are two of many veteran men and women whose hard work and dedication to quality help support our mission at Invenergy. Veterans greatly enhance our workplace, and we are grateful for their contributions and are committed to bringing more to the team.