June 03, 2021
We caught up with Bambi Tran, Vice President of Regions for GRID Alternatives. Follow along as we introduce GRID staff members whose work and influences are driving our vision of a just energy future.
How did you come to GRID?
I found GRID on Idealist.org! I hadn't heard about GRID but thought what the organization was doing was cutting edge in 2011 - bringing solar technology and job training to underserved communities. I moved to the Inland Empire in 2009 from the east coast. Having had a 15-year career in green building design, construction, training, and consulting, as well as being a former AmeriCorps and Peace Corps member, I wanted my next career move to have direct, tangible impacts in my new local communities. I thought the job and how the organization approached doing its work would allow me to draw on all my skill sets and experiences together to build and expand GRID's work in the Inland Empire. I became GRID's first Inland Empire Regional Director, then Executive Director, and now am Vice President of Regions with GRID Headquarters.
What is your favorite part of what you do at GRID?
Seeing the real impact we make in our communities everyday. Big smiles from homeowners turning on their solar systems and seeing the electric meters roll backwards. Excitement in the eyes of trainees, who come from all different backgrounds, who are so motivated to learn and get jobs in the solar industry. Passion in the words and actions of our GRID staff and leaders who so deeply care about each other, our communities, and those we serve.
Who is a current Asian American or Pacific Islander (AAPI) history-maker that people should know about, or has influenced your work?
Thich Nhat Hanh - he's a Vietnamese Buddhist monk who teaches about compassion and mindfulness, and in my mind, resiliency. These help me stay grounded and motivated to navigate the challenges and opportunities of our important work both externally and internally.
Bambi Tran (center), Coachella Valley Housing Coalition staff member (right), homeowner with solar energy system (left)
What’s one thing GRID is working on now that you’re really excited to see happen this year?
GRID is involved in so many things related to clean energy technology and transportation and training. What I'm most excited about is us telling all the stories of these efforts happening in our communities throughout the nation and even globally. From online training programs to solar + storage projects in tribal and fire-prone communities - to electric vehicle chargers and vouchers for income-qualified families - to community solar gardens benefiting environmental and economic justice communities - to the equity, inclusion, and diversity work we're doing as an organization. I feel like our national politics and priorities are finally moving in the direction of what GRID and our partners have been doing for 20 years - now is our time to share, inspire, and lead!
What is your vision for an environmentally just future?
When my bi-racial son with two moms can thrive together with folx of different backgrounds and abilities within this one Earth, with clean air and water and natural resources and energy that doesn't harm the planet or its inhabitants. Where politics and leadership means for the people and of the people and truly supports Black, brown, and diverse communities. Where affluent and white folx don't get richer or more separate, but they work together to change structures and systems, practices and processes, and hearts and minds so that we all can heal and thrive.