by Carina Wallack
“I help clients save money, short and long term, make homes more comfortable, healthier, and happier!” says the founder of Attic Queen, LLC.
Jessica Azarelo is among the more than two million Americans with rewarding careers in the energy efficiency sector.
Professionals like Jessica provide crucial benefits to households in the communities where they work. Energy efficiency improvements reduce utility bills for families while improving health and making homes more comfortable. Seeing the positive impact of their work is a driving force behind why many individuals join, and stay in, this sector.
Jessica Azarelo air-sealing an attic.
Adding new insulation to a home.
Jessica shared her story of how she discovered energy efficiency and why she is glad she ultimately found this path.
What led you to work in energy efficiency? Please briefly describe your career path.
A few years ago, I was recruited by an insulation company local to Tampa that wanted me as a sales rep. I had worked in sales and management in the mortgage and banking industry for the previous 16 years and did very well.
Sales and straight commission did not scare me. What did scare me was being clumsy and accident prone and worrying about falling through a ceiling. What scared me most of all was being a woman in a male-dominated industry.
I decided to join that company; however, I started at the very bottom working in the office. I had always been an overachiever. Within a few months I was being asked to go out and help with big jobs vacuuming insulation or filling the hopper. I quickly became comfortable crawling around attics. Clients were thrilled and supportive as they watched me take on really hard, physically challenging work — and run circles around the guys!
Please describe your current role in your company.
Attic Queen, LLC is an insulation company that focuses on home performance, energy efficiency, and making homes healthy. I specialize in insulating, sanitizing, and air sealing attic floors. I am American Mold and Moister Institute (AMMA) and Building Professional Institute (BPI) certified.
My current role involves being a lead generator, content creator, social media manager, administrative assistant, warehouse supervisor, team lead, accountant, and I’m sure I missed a couple others! I’m in the process of growing my company. The biggest challenge I face is time management and getting the right help.
My company is small with three employees. To me, culture is very important, and I am taking my time to get the right people in place.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your work?
I’ve always been the type of person who loves to help others. Part of my mission statement is “to save lives and change the world.” Nothing is more important than health and happiness. Compared to a lot of other insulation companies I focus more on high-performance options which yield better results.
There is no better feeling than having a customer reach out within days of work being done to tell you how much they appreciate it!
What motivates you when your work is very demanding?
The majority of my clients come to me by word-of-mouth. Getting a referral means a lot. I feel obligated to suit up and help clients. I enjoy doing the work and I take pride in what I do.
Why should more people join the energy efficiency workforce?
This is a $10 billion industry. There will always be a need for home performance and healthy home companies. There is much more work to be done, and it’s just not because of the lack of employees and contractors in this industry.
Never in one million years did I see myself doing this job, let alone loving it. I feel like I am getting paid to exercise and see your families every day! I believe there are millions of people in this country that wake up and go to a dead-end job that they hate. I’m glad and proud to say that I am no longer one of those millions.
I took the leap into entrepreneurship in this amazing industry and came out ahead. If I could change one thing, it would have been to start earlier!
Thank you, Jessica, for the interview and for your tireless work improving homes! To meet more energy efficiency professionals, see the previous blogs in this series and our Faces of Energy Efficiency initiative. And watch for the 2022 Energy Efficiency Jobs in America report, forthcoming this fall.
–Carina Wallack is a Senior Policy Analyst at E4TheFuture