Here at Namasté Solar, we are lucky to work with some pretty amazing people. The folks here care deeply about leaving the world a better place.
Arthur Hicks is one such employee and a Namasté Solar Co-Owner. He’s been with the company for six years and works as a Project Development Designer on our Commercial Design team. Among his many accomplishments here at Namasté Solar, Arthur channeled his passion for teaching to create a partnership between the company, Denver Public Schools (DPS), and the district’s CareerCoach program that gives students the opportunity to learn more about the solar industry. His endeavors even led Namasté Solar to receive the CareerCoach 2018 Partner of the Year award.
We sat down with Arthur and chatted about his work and his passion for connecting with students.
What was your role in bringing about the Denver Public Schools and Namasté Solar partnership?
I was mentoring robotics, which I’ve done every year since I graduated high school. I was talking to the high school’s assistant principal that used to be my construction teacher. I was asking about the different ways I could get myself and/or Namasté Solar involved in DPS more. Our mission statement talks about raising the holistic wealth of us and our stakeholders, one of those stakeholders being our community. He got me connected with several people at CareerConnect. That would have been in May 2016. We decided to do an internship and then we tried the mentorship program. From there, it just ballooned.
What was the inspiration behind partnering with DPS?
Being from Denver and going to DPS, most of the opportunities I’ve had in life, including working here and getting into the University of Colorado – Boulder, was because of my mentors I had from DPS. Being able to give back and make sure that other students have the same kind of opportunities as I did is nice.
What’s been the impact of this program?
We’ve given countless office tours. There have probably been 100 different students that have toured through here. To date, we’ve probably mentored about 45 students. Each year it’s about 312 volunteer hours so, to date, it’s just shy of 1,000 volunteering hours over the last three years, and that’s just for mentoring. That doesn’t include any of the hours people here have spent giving tours and working with interns.
What is your vision for future growth opportunities for the program?
I would like to see more interns in more departments. Right now, we’ve only had interns inside of Sunstreet Design [our residential design team completes designs for new home developments across the country]. I think it would be cool to have them in other departments of our company, like IT and administration.
Why were you first interested in working at Namasté Solar?
The reason I ended up here was simply by chance. A high school teacher noticed I was volunteering for robotics during the daytime a lot. He asked if I needed a job and I said, “Sure! That would be better than selling printers at Office Depot.” He said he could offer me two jobs: sweeping up glass in a glass shop or installing solar. I chose solar.
What is something about your job that most people don’t know about?
I get to touch every commercial sales opportunity that comes into the company. Thankfully, it’s not super deep. The work is a mile wide and an inch deep, so I don’t have to get into the nitty gritty of a lot of details.
How has Namasté Solar helped you develop your skills and career?
I wouldn’t say I was a very good public speaker before, but now I feel at least decently comfortable talking in front of a crowd. I don’t get stage fright anymore. I’ve gotten a lot of engineering experience. Even though it’s not in my title, it’s cool to be able to talk to my engineering professors and tell them I am doing engineering. Also, with spearheading this entire DPS relationship, it’s allowed me a chance to be able to do more networking with people in DPS and allowed me to have teaching opportunities.
What advice would you give to recent hires?
Take as many different jobs as possible here. Apply to everything and take anything you get. I started as a Commercial Installer, then I was a Warehouse Assistant, PM Support, Residential Installer, Warehouse Manager, Residential Designer, and now I'm a Project Development Designer.
What is something most people don’t know about you?
Something most people don’t know about me is that I’m an introvert, and I’m actually shy. I feel like most people would say, “Oh, Arthur is an extrovert.” It’s all a front.
Where would you go on your dream vacation?
So, for me and my wife, a dream vacation would be a beach in the Caribbean. Dream vacation for just me would be to take my Bronco (I have 1988 and 1986 Broncos) and to drive from Patagonia to Point Barrow, Alaska – the most northern point in the state.