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Our New Year Resolutions and Reflections

Blog Published: January 2023

As the calendar rolls over, it’s a time to take a look back at the year behind us while also looking forward to the new year. Every year has it’s ups and downs, wins and struggles. What did 2022 hold for Namaste Solar? And what will 2023 bring?

How would you describe 2022 in one word? 

Challenging. The Builder New Construction (BNC) Design team really struggled with a huge shift in our workload last year.  We had to refocus our entire team in a new direction which required a lot of training and a major change in the way we operate. But the team we have on BNC Design right now is the best we’ve ever had, so we had an amazing year despite the challenges! – Desiree Williams, Co-owner & Lead BNC Designer

Volatile. The only thing that was consistent in 2022 was change. Changes in prices and material availability happened throughout the entire year. Some components that used to be 4-week lead times suddenly were 30-week lead times or worse. Scheduling projects became increasingly more difficult as a result. On top of market changes, we had our heaviest change in project sizes and scope in recent years; several projects were eliminated from our portfolio after signed contracts because of factors outside of our control. – Ryan Turnbull, Senior Commercial Project Manager

 Rollercoaster! Ending on a high note with the Inflation Reduction Act providing 10 years of a 30% federal tax credit to our customers for going solar. – Teri Lema, Co-owner & Human Resources Generalist

Looking back at the past year, what’s the biggest lesson you learned in 2022? 

Change is inevitable. Any time we get too comfortable with the way things are, they will change!  We have to remain flexible and able to go with the flow. – Desiree Williams, Co-owner & Lead BNC Designer

The biggest lesson I learned is that you often have to take the leap, again and again, in order to find the path you want to be on. It's often not an easy thing to do, but it can often lead to great benefits. I moved for what feels like the millionth time in my adult life, to pursue the kind of solar job I wanted, that could help me build the skills I wanted, in a supportive environment, at an employee-owned solar cooperative called Namaste Solar! – Riley Neugebauer, Residential Solar Apprentice

Learning how to prepare for the unknown. With all the factors [that made 2022 volatile], it became abundantly clear that it is not appropriate to assume anything. Whether it is subcontractor availability, scheduling a power outage, or finding the right fasteners for a roof anchor, there is no normal. Things we used to take for granted are now things we must extensively plan out to the last detail. – Ryan Turnbull, Senior Commercial Project Manager

 Being in business means solving problems and I get to solve them with people I respect and care about. – Teri Lema, Co-owner & Human Resources Generalist

What is one thing that Namaste Solar did in 2022 that you are really proud of? 

I am really proud that Namaste Solar has community profit-sharing as part of our values, and that some of that money from 2022 is going to Red Cloud Renewable, a Native American led renewable training center on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota that is doing really great work in offering training for Native American renewable technicians. – Riley Neugebauer, Residential Solar Apprentice

 Namaste Solar did exceptionally well at making adjustments when things became challenging. We made excellent strides to set ourselves up for success in future years, while diligently getting done what we needed to in 2022. – Ryan Turnbull, Senior Commercial Project Manager

What is one accomplishment your team had in 2022 that you are really proud to be a part of? 

I’m so proud of my team in general! One accomplishment that comes to mind is the transition to storage design. We had to adapt our designs to include battery storage. We all learned along the way and now storage design is a big part of our workload! – Desiree Williams, Co-owner & Lead BNC Designer

I've been on a few teams since joining Namaste, and I am proud of all of them! One thing in particular would be my current crew recently had to do a lot of problem-solving to complete a steep metal barn roof solar install in Longmont, followed by an even steeper roof in Nederland, and all of it happening in winter! – Riley Neugebauer, Residential Solar Apprentice

How did you grow personally or professionally in the past year? How did Namaste Solar support that growth? 

One of the main focuses for me last year was increasing my AutoCAD knowledge even more. I’ve been using CAD for over 20 years but there is still so much more to learn. We focused a lot on training and learning last year on BNC Design and I got to spend 2 months diving into training for the AutoCAD Certification with the entire team. We all learned so much and you can really see the growth in the team. With some of the new knowledge I learned, I was able to redesign our templates and make them more efficient for the team.  – Desiree Williams, Co-owner & Lead BNC Designer

Namaste Solar has continued to support my goal of getting my residential wire(wo)man's license. I came here with around 1100 hours towards the 4000 on-the-job training hours needed in order to take that first exam of my electrical license. Namaste Solar is both allowing me to continue working towards those hours and is also investing in me through IEC. I have learned more on the job than ever before through the training crew here, and then through dozens of installs over these past 5 months with the two other crews I've been on. The Crew Leads are very patient and talented folks, and honestly the staff at Namaste are just hard to beat - it's an amazing group of skilled people. – Riley Neugebauer, Residential Solar Apprentice

In the past year my role changed slightly to include being a manager of people. This is something I was not at all excited about in the beginning. I dreaded the idea of being anyone’s direct manager. Largely thanks to the awesome commercial project management team, this went much better than I expected, and turned into something I enjoy. – Ryan Turnbull, Senior Commercial Project Manager

What’s one goal you have for 2023?  

To be ready for whatever comes my way. There are a lot of unknowns in the year ahead and I want to be ready for them this year.  – Desiree Williams, Co-owner & Lead BNC Designer

I'm never able to pick just one thing! I want to get more experience and knowledge on the AC side of installs, help create a field committee to help with decision-making in the cooperative, become a co-owner, keep improving my salsa dancing skills, get into the mountains up here more, build more of a community, go on a meditation retreat, and continue to plug away at my side project called Solar for Women that focuses on networking (and one day training) women installers. – Riley Neugebauer, Residential Solar Apprentice

I want the commercial team, and the entire company to make progress and maintain consistency. I want everyone to have the same measure of success on projects, and the tools they need to achieve success. This will allow for growth personally and professionally for our employees and eliminate some of the stresses of the unknowns this year will present to us. – Ryan Turnbull, Senior Commercial Project Manager

I am looking forward to helping more of our employees become owners of Namaste Solar.  – Teri Lema, Co-owner & Human Resources Generalist

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