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Powering jobs in the New Energy Economy: Meet Amy Kimm
By Tracy Idell Hamilton on March 4, 2014
Amy Kimm, 24, is a business development associate for Mission Solar.
Kimm, who graduated with a degree in biology and minors in chemistry and history from Wellesley College, attended a job fair for Mission Solar — then known as Nexolon America — at the Pearl last March. Mission Solar has committed to hiring 400 people for the solar panel manufacturing plant it’s building at Brooks City Base, part of a larger deal with OCI Solar Power to build 400 MW of solar in and around San Antonio.
Kimm is one of those 400; we spoke with her as as part of our ongoing series “Powering jobs in the New Energy Economy” to highlight some of the diverse San Antonians hired to fill the nearly 300 jobs already created by CPS Energy’s partner companies, including Mission Solar, OCI Solar Power, Ercam Trackers and KACO new energy.
What do you do as a business development associate?
“Because we’re a start up, I do a little bit of everything. But mainly I’m looking for new markets, new buyers for the solar panels we’re manufacturing. I’m creating sales and marketing materials. Right now the focus is on commercial customers, since that’s what we’re set up to do for OCI Solar Power, but we may offer residential at some point in the future.”
How did you end up at Mission Solar?
“After graduation, I was back home in San Antonio doing some contract work part time. Mission Solar was having a job fair, so I showed up. We talked about my background, and that I might join the process engineering team, but I ended up doing business development. I’ve been able to see a lot of the company that way.
What have been some challenges?
“I’ve had to totally reassess how I think about working. In science, even if you don’t get it right, you’re getting information that it’s wrong. In an office, it’s not about getting it ‘right’ — often there is no right answer, and you have to prioritize different needs. It’s been interesting to see how people value different things.”
What’s been the most rewarding?
“It’s been really cool to see how quickly and constantly the solar industry is evolving. As we go forward as a country, we can’t really continue to rely on fossil fuels; there are implications for our environment and our energy independence. The advances in solar in the past five to 10- years — and even more just in the last couple years — is amazing. For example, micro-inverters — the second wave has fixed the first set of problems, now the industry is working on the second set. And panels — there are so many options out there now.”