Read about Bill Pedersen’s thoughts on why he’s doing a second term of Energy Corps:
“Why?” I was often asked this question after saying that I was leaving Massachusetts to do a second term of service with EnergyCorps in Helena, Montana. “Why would you willingly go back to making below minimum wage?” “But don’t you already have a job?” “What are you going to do in Montana, watch the tumble weed blow to areas that actually have people?” This blog will attempt to explain why I decided to return for a second year of service.
First and foremost, I believe AmeriCorps gives willing individuals unique opportunities to make real differences in American communities. Last year, Energy Corps gave me the opportunity to make concrete changes in disadvantage communities while serving at the Energy Coordinating Agency in Philadelphia. My co-workers and I would enter cold, drafty homes that would waste their owner’s limited resources through inefficient thermal envelopes. After conducting an energy audit, insulating, air sealing, installing a programmable thermostat, and conducting combustion analysis, we would leave safer, more comfortable homes with lower utility bills.
Additionally, Energy Corps allowed me to work with dedicated students who really wanted to learn. Students such as Tyreke from the halfway home who was working as hard as he could to acquire a trade to reintegrate himself into society, or Chris from Youthbuild who was always the first building science student in and the last to leave. It was beyond rewarding to participate in programs that helped hard working individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds save money and reach their educational goals.
My experiences in Philadelphia provided me with way more than a warm and fuzzy as they helped me gain the skills to build a career in the clean tech field. While at ECA, I was able to learn from the Dawn and Paul, the first two IREC certified Energy Efficiency master trainers in the nation. On a daily basis, I got to work with knowledgeable professionals dedicated to increasing Philadelphia’s energy efficiency such as David, Chris, Scott, Marco, Sherleen, Darnell, and the other members of the 2013 IREC Training Center of the year. Being around these individuals taught me numerous lessons about running an environmental business and valuable technical expertise that helped me achieve a variety of professional certifications.
Why did I come back? I hope to use the skills I gained in Philadelphia to make real changes in Montana and to continue the learning process I began last year. This year, I will be serving as the SMART schools coordinator with the Montana Department of Environmental Quality. I cannot wait to help underfunded schools save by conserving energy and continue learning skills that will allow me to build a career in the clean tech field.
Bill Pedersen graduated from Hamilton College with a B.A. in Environmental Studies. He spent last year as an Energy Corps Member serving with the Energy Coordinating Agency of Philadelphia. During his time with ECA, he helped conduct energy audits on low income homes, presented at community energy awareness events and taught at ECA’s Green Jobs Training Center. Bill is serving at the Montana Department of Environmental Quality this year, launching the Governor’s Smart School Initiative.