Invenergy Blog: November 09, 2021
Invenergy Veterans Spotlight: Lesley Fisher, Manager, Renewable Engineering
As we honor National Veterans and Military Families Month this November, Invenergy offers our sincere appreciation to our veterans for their service to the country and for the expertise and dedication they bring to our company and the clean energy field.
Veterans are uniquely positioned to excel at Invenergy thanks to the skills acquired during their service. Approximately 10 percent of Invenergy employees are military veterans, spanning from the staff at our Chicago headquarters to the technicians and plant managers working at our energy centers across the country. We are grateful to work alongside our veterans to build a more sustainable world and proud to highlight their stories throughout November.
How long have you been at Invenergy and what is your current role?
I’ve been at Invenergy for about 1.5 years; I joined just before Covid-19 turned our world upside down. I started as a staff engineer on the solar project engineering team and have since moved into a manager role for projects in the central United States. We work closely with the Development teams to identify possible risks to early-stage projects, develop project designs, and evaluate the energy yield of the projects. Once projects transition into construction we work with the Pre-Construction and Project Management teams to continue to validate the designs and energy estimates.
Please provide details about your service including your branch, rank/title, job, how long, when, and where you served.
I was in the U.S. Army, on active duty for 8 years. I began my career serving as an air defense artillery officer stationed in Okinawa as part of a Patriot missile defense battery. While I was there, I volunteered for an assignment as a Cultural Support Team leader. We worked as a part of Special Operations Forces teams in Afghanistan, responsible for interacting with local women when it wasn’t culturally appropriate for our male service members. After that assignment I was interested in continuing the type of work I’d done in Afghanistan and transitioned into the Civil Affairs branch of the Army. During that time, I worked out of the U.S. Embassy in the Dominican Republic alongside NGOs, aid organizations, and the local police and military to help address sources of instability within the country.
How did you get your start at Invenergy specifically?
After my military service, I was interested in continuing my education in engineering and pursuing a career in the energy industry. At the time I was living in Sweden completing graduate school in sustainable energy engineering. I wanted to come back to the U.S. and work designing renewable energy projects, so Invenergy was my top choice! I moved to Chicago in February 2020 (brrrr!) and jumped right into the growing solar engineering team.
What motivated you to join the military?
The attacks of 9/11 happened when I was a freshman in high school. For years afterward the TVs were full of images of service members in action overseas. I wanted to do my part to support our country. I joined the ROTC program in college and was commissioned as an Army officer when I graduated.
How did your military experience prepare you for your job now? What skills, capabilities, and characteristics transfer over?
The fast pace and constantly evolving environment in the military prepared me for working as a solar engineer in an industry that is also rapidly evolving. The military regularly forced me to push my own limits and seek out new challenges. This mindset has been invaluable to me as a solar engineer.
Why is it important that companies commit to hiring veterans?
Veterans have skills that are sometimes difficult to capture on a resume that can make them star employees. The mentality that “failure isn’t an option” creates nimble critical thinkers who seek to solve problems with whatever limited resources they may have. Veterans are often dependable, hard workers who are driven to continue to improve the organization. The military also breeds an understanding that people are the most valuable resource within an organization and the care that a veteran will take towards their peers and employees creates strong teams.
What does Veterans Day mean to you?
For me Veterans Day is a time to reflect on my own military service and to be thankful for the service of those who came before and after me. It reminds me to be a well-informed citizen so that when we commit our military to conflicts overseas, we don’t take the sacrifices of our service members for granted.