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Powering jobs in the New Energy Economy: Meet Mark Balderas
By Tracy Idell Hamilton on March 28, 2014
Mark Balderas, 41, is a line leader at LED lighting company GreenStar.
Balderas began more than two years ago as an assembly worker for the company, which was started in Boerne, then moved to San Antonio before becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of Toshiba Lighting and Technologies.
GreenStar was one of CPS Energy’s first New Energy Economy partners, and just reached an exciting milestone: installing its 50,000th LED light worldwide, including 14,000 streetlights in San Antonio, part of a project to upgrade 25,000 lights citywide.
The company employs 45 people and counting, among the nearly 300 created thus far by all of our partners. Balderas is one of those, and we spoke with him as part of our series highlighting some of the San Antonians who’ve found work in the diverse and growing New Energy Economy.
How did you end up working for GreenStar, and what do you do as a line leader?
“I used to work for Paul Duran (founder of GreenStar) at his other company, ColdCar, outting new freezers in Schwan trucks. He saw the way I worked and offered me a job at GreenStar. He told me I’d have to start at the bottom, but I didn’t mind.
I started on the assembly line, and since then they’ve just given me more and more responsibility. Now I make sure the lights on that line are coming off right and complete. I also do computer work at the end of the day.”
What’s the best part about your job?
“This is one of the bigger companies I’ve worked for, and it’s growing fast, so there are a lot of new people. I like that I get to talk to more people, and that I’m getting more opportunities. They say just keep going, and I do. I also think it’s pretty cool when I’m driving around town and I’ll look up at a streetlight and think, we built that.”
And what’s the most challenging?
“I’d never used a computer before, and when they told me I would I was a little nervous. But they showed me how to do it, and I picked up on it pretty quick. I’ve gotten pretty okay at it.”