Powering jobs in the New Energy Economy: Meet Catherine Perez

By on November 19, 2013

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Catherine Perez, 34, is an administrative assistant with OCI Solar Power.

Catherine provides administrative support to the office manager at OCI Solar Power’s downtown headquarters as well as to three executives: vice president of operations, vice president of engineering, procurement and construction and the senior counsel. She’s had the full-time job, with benefits, since April 2013.

We sat down with Catherine as part of a new series profiling real people who’ve gotten good jobs in the New Energy Economy. Hers is one of more than 250 permanent positions moved here or created thus far by our eight partner companies, which have opened offices and are building manufacturing in and around San Antonio. Hundreds more have been hired on a temporary basis, helping build solar farms, the manufacturing plant and other infrastructure.

The goal of CPS Energy’s New Energy Economy initiative is to reduce the carbon intensity of our generation fleet, create a sustainable clean energy economy and enhance STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — education in the San Antonio region.

Where did you work previously?

“As an administrative assistant for ITT Technical Institute, and prior to that at law firms for ten years.”

What inspired you to apply to OCI Solar Power?

“I completed my bachelor of arts in business in 2011, and at ITT, I felt like I had hit a wall. There was no one moving up or close to retiring above me, so I didn’t see much room for advancement.  I saw the job posting for OCI Solar Power and it looked interesting, with growth potential.

What do you like about your job?

“I really like the fact that whatever your position is in the company, they’re willing to listen to ideas and suggestions. OCI Solar Power really promotes employee involvement, and they look for contributions from employees throughout the company.”

What’s challenging?

“It’s a completely new field for me, renewable energy. Administrative duties are similar everywhere, but I get questions I might not have the answer to, so I have to do research, make sure I’m using the correct terminology. It’s a learning experience all around.”

What’s your advice for job seekers?

“Never misrepresent yourself or your qualifications. If it’s on your resume they’re going to assume you know it. For example, if you say you’re bilingual, but it’s just at the conversational level, you probably can’t conduct business at that level. Also, read the qualifications carefully, to make sure your skills match what the company is looking for.”

Check out the jobs currently listed at OCI Solar Power.

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