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Solar Spotlight: Matt Thomas


Publish Date: March 18th, 2024

Today, we want to introduce you to Matt Thomas. He’s a crew lead of one of our residential install teams and will celebrate 9 years at Namaste Solar in July of 2024. We caught up with him while he was out in the field to chat. He shared such valuable and authentic insights that we can’t wait to share with you! Let’s dig in.

What has your career path at Namaste Solar looked like?

I was hired as an installer originally. So, I reported to a crew lead, someone in the position I’m in now. I started at the bottom and did that for a couple of years. Then, I made the transition over to service. And I did that for a while. Next, I jumped over to deinstall and reinstall and did that for four years. About a year and a half ago, I came back to residential install and took a crew lead role.

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

At Namaste Solar, you tend to plateau at times in your position, and there’s a lot of movement because people are just looking to learn some new stuff. Namaste Solar put me through electrical classes at Independent Electrical Contractors Rocky Mountain (IECRM). Namaste Solar is constantly putting on and paying for trainings. I’ve gotten forklift trainings, first aid, and OSHA safety trainings. Soon, we’ll be getting some battery trainings. It’s really endless, the amount of trainings they’ve provided and supported me with. There’s also an endless amount of knowledge amongst all the people, and there are a lot of people I can call and find an answer if I need to. I’m never stranded alone out here, unsure of what to do. I can always find an answer for something, and I think that’s pretty unique to this company.

Why were you first interested in working at Namaste Solar?

Before working at Namaste Solar, I was actually living in Philadelphia, where I’m from. I was in commercial roofing, and it was just a really tough job. I knew I wanted to do something else that was more meaningful because the roofing industry is really wasteful. My parents raised me to be conscious of the environment, so it felt important. I figured solar might be a good transition, and I read in some magazines about this cool company, Namaste Solar. It was a cooperative and a Certified B Corp that really did business in a different way. So, I applied for the position and then uprooted my life in Philadelphia to move out to Colorado. It was the best decision ever. I couldn’t be happier.

What’s keeping you at Namaste Solar?

What’s keeping me here is probably the steady growth and the people. I love the people I work for, and I get along with everybody. But it’s not just that. This is a different lifestyle entirely. When I first started, it was like a culture shock kind of thing, and I didn’t really know how to accept it right away. Everybody was so nice and I was thinking, what is happening? For me, it was like, holy crap, this exists. I have a lot of support, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard of or worked for another company like this.

 

"I'm proud on a daily basis. Some of these jobs we're doing are really massive and complicated in scale. I walk away from some of these projects feeling really proud. That's a reason why I've been doing this for so long. I like walking away from these homes and seeing something special. I'm really proud of the finished product we have." - Matt Thomas

 

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

Some people take for granted how physical it can be. You’re really straining your body, constantly. And it can take a toll if you’re not ready for that coming into this. If that’s the case, your time here can be pretty short. You have to be pretty physically fit. And mentally fit, too. Being mentally tough is what allows you to get through some of the daily workload – things like getting in hot attics, tight spaces, and crawl spaces. We’re also out in all types of weather, including really hot weather. We’re lucky in Colorado, though. Most of the time the weather is pretty good.

Matt thomas treehouse 300x400

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

Hmm, there’s a lot. Probably my proudest moment would be becoming a co-owner. I waited a little bit to test the waters and observe a little bit. So, I didn’t become a co-owner until my third year. And that was such a proud moment, I really felt like a part of the club after that. And another one is getting my residential wireman’s license. That was pretty sweet. It elevated my abilities and allowed me to get new roles. But honestly, I’m proud on a daily basis. Some of these jobs we’re doing are really massive and complicated in scale. I walk away from some of these special projects feeling really proud. That’s a reason why I’ve been doing this so long. I like walking away from these homes and seeing something special. I’m really proud of the finished product that we have.

What motivates you to wake up and go to work?

I’ve talked to my crew about this a lot, and it doesn’t really feel like I’m going to work anymore. It’s more like I’m hanging out with my friends. It feels like that because we’re all so close. It’s really not that hard to get up and go. I’m excited to come to work. I was never great at making friends, you know? And it’s pretty easy to make friends at Namaste.

What advice would you give to recent new hires?

I think a lot of people come in here a little timid because maybe they have a lack of experience. But I tell my newer folks that it’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to challenge yourself. I know it can be hard for a lot of people to put themselves in uncomfortable positions, but that’s the only way you learn. So, don’t get upset if you make mistakes. It’s gonna happen, and this is the perfect company to make mistakes and learn from them.

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

I like to snowboard when I can. My two brothers live out here, too. We like to go climbing in the mountains together. I like being outside. And I have a 3 year old daughter, and I’m always trying to get her exposed to nature and cool stuff like that. Her name is Riley and since she’s only three, I aim to spend as much time with her as possible. So, working on my house, outdoor stuff, and hanging out with my family.

What’s your favorite part of being a dad?

Probably just teaching her stuff and seeing her develop. It’s a cool feeling. Having somebody depending on you; it makes you feel good that you can take care of someone like that. It’s a source of pride, for sure.

What parts of Namaste Solar’s mission do you most connect with?

Probably the distributed leadership part. I like to empower people out here in the field with me. It doesn’t have to be just one person making a decision. It’s a collective effort, and that hits me pretty good because I feel like everybody has opinions. Having a structure at Namaste Solar where those opinions can be respected and heard is great. I try to bring this into the field, especially with my newer folks. I’ll let them make decisions and ask them questions, like what they’re thinking. It makes them feel good about themselves and motivates them. Also, I connect with the community giving part and holding our stakeholders close to us. That’s probably another reason why I’m still here, too. We give money to the community, and we put out a good product for the community.

If you could pick one superpower, what would it be?

I think if I could jump really high, that would be really cool. Then I could just jump onto the roofs, and I wouldn’t have to climb these stupid ladders.

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