Bradley Feuge, 43, is the customer project manager for KACO new energy.
He’s the single point of contact between the solar photovoltaic inverter manufacturer, which has locations around the globe, and its growing customer base in the Americas. Right now, they produce utility scale inverters and Integrated Power Stations locally, but Bradley says the company’s goal is to produce inverters for commercial and residential customers, as well. Inverters convert the DC power made by solar panels into AC power that can be used in homes and businesses.
KACO new energy just celebrated the opening of its 56,000 square foot manufacturing facility on Binz-Engleman Road in San Antonio — 40,000 square feet of which are climate-controlled for the delicate work of building inverters for OCI Solar Power, which is building 400 MW of solar farms as part of its agreement to sell the power for 25 years to CPS Energy.
We spoke with Bradley as part of our ongoing series “Powering jobs in the New Energy Economy” to highlight some of the people hired to fill the more than 270 jobs already created by CPS Energy’s partner companies.
What did you do before working for KACO new energy, and what’s your training?
“Most recently I was a project manager for J.P. Morgan Chase, managing ATM installations across the U.S. Prior to that I was a program manager for Consert, and prior to that in operations management with Universal Hospital Services, a medical equipment company. Prior to that I spent 20 years in the Coast Guard, most recently as a chief electronics technician.
“Everything I’ve done involves electrical equipment — inverters, home area networks, biomedical equipment — either the installation or maintenance. I learned on the job.”
What are the challenges and rewards of standing up a new manufacturing plant?
“That’s a tough one. You always have challenges, but this is the fourth or fifth start up for me. I commissioned new boats in the Coast Guard — that’s like a start up.
“The rewards include being here at the start, on the ground level. I think I was about the fifth person hired here.
“Also, going out to the Alamo 1 (OCI Solar Power’s first 41 MW farm), and looking out on 400 acres of solar pv, as far as the eye can see, the panels just glittering in the sun, that’s just awesome.”
What’s your advice for job seekers?
“If someone wants to get into manufacturing, they should check out some of the programs offered through the Alamo Colleges.”
The Alamo Colleges offers The Advanced Technology and Manufacturing Academy, a program for high school students, as well as a variety of manufacturing and other technical classes through St. Philip’s College.
Check out KACO new energy’s careers page.