by Carina Wallack
“I wanted a job that was exciting and fulfilling,” says Jason Denese of Abode Energy Management. “I was looking for opportunities to grow and learn, and the energy efficiency field provided this.”
Jason took the leap into energy efficiency after a previous career in the casino industry.
He’s not alone. Many mid-career professionals find efficiency to be a rewarding field. For those seeking new opportunities, EE jobs are incredibly varied.
The 2.1 million Americans working in efficiency include construction workers, engineers, energy auditors, and sales professionals. I spoke with Jason Denese to learn about how he joined the energy efficiency sector.
What did you do before you worked in energy efficiency?
I worked in the casino industry as a valet and was also a supervisor, then moved up to a manager. I had wanted to get into a different field of trade for a long time. I enrolled in a trade school for HVAC/R; however, when I graduated the economy was in a recession and nobody was hiring an apprentice. Fast forward a few years, I reconnected with an old friend who was a technician for Next Step Living. He described air sealing an attic and basement, while also being part of a two-man team doing energy audits. This sparked my interest in the growing energy efficiency field. My friend gave me a referral, and I was hired almost immediately.
What led you to your current role?
After two years, I was hired at a smaller company in Massachusetts as an insulation crew lead. As a technician I was new to insulation. Air sealing had previously been my focus. This was a great opportunity to gain experience and I worked on insulation projects for the Rhode Island Low Income Program and Mass Save. I was promoted to a field manager after two years. I worked as a field manager running large multifamily projects for a year and a half which led to my current role as a quality assurance inspector at Abode Energy Management. I really enjoy this role and love the company I work for.
What was the most difficult aspect of changing career paths?
The unknown of working in a new field and starting with no experience were challenging. I think what holds many people back from making a career change is not being willing to take a risk and believe in oneself.
What advice do you have for individuals looking to join the energy efficiency sector who currently work in other fields?
This field is growing and exciting to get into. It is rewarding and offers a lot of potential to learn and progress. For someone looking to break into the field without previous experience, I would recommend finding an entry level position. From there, being coachable, trainable, and willing to seek education for new skills are key to success.
What is your favorite part of your job?
I enjoy helping people on the job every day. I help customers when they have questions or if an issue needs to be resolved. The gratitude I receive from them when I make sure their issues are resolved is rewarding. I also enjoy helping the crews I see daily. We see a lot of people who are new to this field or position, and I take a coaching role and teach people how to address issues that come up in real time. I also take pride in the fact we are helping the environment every day.
Thank you, Jason for your work strengthening the energy efficiency industry and for allowing me to interview you! For more career stories from EE professionals, see our previous blog featuring Yashar Ebady. And stay tuned for the 2022 Energy Efficiency Jobs in America report for a comprehensive look at the sectors.
–Carina Wallack is a Senior Policy Analyst at E4TheFuture