For this month’s staff spotlight, we take you to our North Coast satellite office, which serves Mendocino, Lake, and Humboldt counties including many tribal communities, to introduce you to our North Coast SolarCorps Construction Fellow: Matt Wheeler. Originally hailing from the Navajo Reservation in Arizona, Matt recently graduated from Dartmouth College, and can now be seen working with new GRID families and installing solar on rooftops across “Hippie Town USA” (as he likes to call it!). Volunteer on a North Coast install with Matt and he’s sure to become a fast friend and make you feel right at home in the GRID community - keep reading to find out why!
Matt Wheeler, North Coast SolarCorps Construction Fellow
How did you come to GRID?
“In college I was a mechanical engineering major; there was no specific solar major at my college, or any renewable energy programs, so I thought a mechanical engineering degree wouldn’t be so bad if I wanted to get into renewable energy. My goal was to be able to work on renewable energy projects for tribes.
My sister knew about my career goals and what I wanted to do after college, and one day she messaged me and said she saw an internship online for GRID’s tribal office in Denver. When I started to do my research I got really excited, so I called and spoke with the program director who ended up referring me to the North Coast office and their open SolarCorps position.”
What GRID value most resonates with you?
“Community. Because it takes a community to institute real change. I think GRID as an organization is a great community even in just the micro interactions everyone has with each other -- they’re always happy to see each other! They’ve fostered a wonderful, inviting community and I think volunteers and homeowners can see that and want to join it as well.”
What is your favorite GRID moment?
“It’s all been pretty good! Trying to pick the best one is difficult. My favorite might be when we installed at the Table Bluff reservation up in Humboldt, on the home of the chairman of the Wiyot tribe there. The EPA director showed up, and the chairman’s son and a couple other community members volunteered. They were so excited to have solar on the rez that it almost felt like GRID wasn’t doing it, they were doing it.”
What’s a fun fact about you?
“I love basketball and I play twice a week. I’ll play every chance I’m given and it’s one way I love connecting with people.”
Want to learn more about GRID's North Coast office? Check out their website here.