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Solar Spotlight: Gage Duran

Publish Date: October 16th, 2023

Say hello to Gage! He’s a service operations apprentice who started with us in 2022. He works on a two-person crew to service any solar systems that are experiencing problems or equipment malfunctions. In other words, he helps keep those solar panels running smoothly to soak up all the sun. When we chatted with Gage, we learned so many cool things about him; it makes us excited to work with such a diverse group of people at Namaste Solar!

Why were you first interested in working at Namaste Solar?

I have been here for 14 months. When I started, I wanted to get in the solar industry. I was just trying to get my foot in the door after my studies when I met Aubrey (another Namaste Solar employee), and she put me in touch. A few weeks later I got hired!

When Aubrey told me about this job I didn’t even know what a B Corp was, but then I looked at the website and just got really fascinated with the aspects of employee ownership, being a B Corp, and all the other differentiators.

What motivates you to wake up and go to work?

I’m just very passionate about the environment and renewable energy, which is why I chose a career in solar. In the beginning I was installing, and now I work in service so I get to support people who have already made the decision to go solar. I get to go to work every day and help people. It’s my small part to help save the planet.

What is something about your job that most people don’t know about?

I would say two things. One, there is a lot of problem solving involved in my role. Sometimes we show up with limited info and have to go all the way through our check list to figure out where the problem may be. Other times the problem is something we’ve seen before.

Also, there’s a lot of customer service involved. We have customers that spent a lot of money on their systems (with us or other companies) and then their system stops working so we want to explain the problem, get them back online, and make sure the customers are happy.

Since you're servicing systems, you probably see a lot of older systems and systems installed by different companies. What differences do you see with these?

Seeing all the different types of systems installed by us and other companies has taught me so much about photovoltaic systems. It's allowed me to understand the progression of our industry's technology and practices over the years. Seeing older systems installed by Namaste Solar and other companies has given me a greater appreciation for the quality of work we perform. It makes me so proud to be a part of a company with such integrity and high standards of workmanship.

What’s been one of your proudest moments working here?

I would say I have two proudest moments! The first one was back in March when I was given the opportunity to join the service department after eight months of installing. That had been a goal of mine when I started working here because it was a department that fascinated me. The other moment was last week when I had my ten-month check-in to become a co-owner. It went really well, and I got a lot of positive feedback from my peers and managers.

What’s the most unique part about working at Namaste Solar?

As nonspecific as possible – just everything. The company, B Corps, and everything that entails. And then you know getting the opportunity to become a candidate or a co-owner. The people at Namaste Solar want to hear what you have to say and get your input and that is something that just blows me away. Being able to take part in these conversations that affect business is really unique.

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How has Namaste Solar helped you develop your skills and career?

The opportunity to become a candidate for co-ownership and attending all these meetings to discuss our business plans and the financial side of things. Seeing those conversations has been educational for me. Then there are obviously the things I’ve learned in the field. Honing my labor skills and learning how to install on people’s roofs, and the vast amount I’ve learned about types of systems and equipment during my time on service. Troubleshooting different systems has taught me so much about photovoltaics and how they operate.

What advice would you give to recent new hires?

Just stay focused and work hard. You’ll learn more and more each week, each month, and opportunities will open up. Set your sights on where you want to go and keep getting involved as much as you can.

Where are you from? (If not from CO) Why did you move to CO?

I am originally from Texas. I grew up there, and then I went to university in LA. After that I spent pretty much all of my 20s outside the country. When I moved back to the U.S. a few years ago I knew I wanted to live somewhere with a lot of beautiful nature and scenery and lots of stuff to do outdoors. Colorado seemed like a great option.

What do you like to do when you’re not at work?

Be outside. My wife and I love doing any outdoor activity, especially exercise. We love hiking, running, trail running, and riding bikes. We are pretty much always outside with our dog Siya in the mountains or around Boulder.

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What is something most people don’t know about you?

I feel like something most people don’t know about me is that I spent almost a decade outside of the US. I’ve been to 23 different countries, and I feel like the best thing anyone can do for their soul is to visit different places in the world.

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What is your favorite song/album/artist right now?

I’ll start with artist, that’s an easy one. Bob Marley for sure. Anytime I’m having a tough day or feeling down I’ll listen to Bob Marley to pick me back up.

What has your experience been with our company culture?

It’s been amazing. I just love how all-inclusive our company is. I think everyone does a great job of practicing our core values everyday like come as you are and distributed leadership. I‘ve always been treated as an equal by everyone from the CEO all the way down. I just think our culture is amazing. From the minute you walk in the door, people care what you have to say.

What parts of our mission do you most connect with?

The entire mission statement really resonates with me, but mostly I would say to create holistic wealth for ourselves and our community. Like I said, the planet and the environment are really important to me so to work for a company that values that is really great.