A dad and daughter inspire each other to build a sustainable future

Director of Construction and Operations Jonatan Escalante is passionate about doing a good job, whether that means in his role at GRID GLA, or at home being a husband and father. Jonatan loves to talk about his family – his wife, his daughter and son, and his home country of Guatemala. It’s clear that he cares deeply about leading his children, as well as our dedicated construction crew, to being the best they can be. Jonatan is extremely multifaceted, he’s a solar and construction expert as well as a talented visual artist and designer. He designs interior and exterior spaces and creates mixed media art pieces. (You can see his GRID inspired painting in our brand new merch store here). 

For Father’s Day, we asked Jonatan’s eldest, his 15 year old daughter Sophya Escalante, to write about her dad and what she has learned about solar, sustainability, and life from her dad. Here are Sophya’s words:

I can't really remember a time in my life where I hadn't heard at least one person talk about global warming or the harm being done to our environment. Considering that global warming has been around longer than I have, I can't say I know much. From a young age, I noticed that so many people had something to say about what goes on when we harm our environment, yet nobody ever had the full gist of what was going on. People getting into arguments always had contradicting facts, not realizing that what they were saying didn't actually make any sense. I guess some have a habit of thinking their opinion is the only right one, completely disregarding the actual dictionary definition of what an opinion is. I'd like to say I'm an observant person, seeing the world as a puzzle that I can try to put together. That's the reason that I became so curious with the impacts on our environment, just another piece of the puzzle for me to solve.

My name is Sophya Escalante. My job here today is not to tell you whose opinion is right or wrong. But rather, to share my experience on what my dad and the rest of the people at GRID Alternatives Greater Los Angeles have taught me about our environment and the benefits of a non-profit. 

My dad's name is Jonathan Escalante, he was originally hired as a Construction Manager at GRID Alternatives, but is now the Director of Construction and Operations. At least, that's what his business card says. 

Director of Construction and Operations Jonatan Escalante and his daughter Sophya
Director of Construction and Operations Jonatan Escalante and his daughter, Sophya Escalante, through the years. 

To backtrack to the little story in the introduction, I've always had a fascination with the environment, global warming, and what happens to the polar bears because of it. Having a dad that worked in the solar industry just grew my fascination. To understand where my interest on this topic stems from, I decided to sit down with my dad and ask him where his passion for solar came from, and why he chose to work for GRID.

The first thing he said was that both his interest in solar and wanting to work for GRID Alternatives stemmed from his passion for helping people. Finding a renewable energy source helps the environment, which helps the people living in it. Working for a non-profit organization is also another way to help others. One thing I’ve always admired about my dad is his dedication to helping people. Non-profit organizations like GLA are less corrupt, supporting those who need it and supporting the future of our environment. 

So this interest in solar and the environment has to do with helping others. But, why? Why is helping others so important to us? My dad had an answer to this question that really stuck with me. He said becoming a father made him realize the importance of making this world a better place for his children. In his perspective, improving the world through helping others heal the environment is a possible way to make a difference for the generations to come. Dad taught me to fight for what you believe in. That is exactly what he and the rest of GRID Alternatives Greater Los Angeles are doing. Fighting for a cause worth believing in. 

Director of Construction and Operations Jonatan Escalante and his daughter Sophya


Jonatan with his two kids, Mateo and Sophya.
Proud dad Jonatan Escalante and his two kids, Mateo and Sophya, who are both wearing hoodies with a design by their dad.

After placing the last piece of the puzzle, I can take a second to look at the image as a whole. What I thought I would see was solar energy reducing climate change and helping keep the Earth healthy. But that was only part of it. I see people, good and hardworking people, standing for the future of their children. They put so much energy into their jobs, no pun intended. This industry isn’t just about stopping depletion of the ozone layer, it’s about setting a prosperous path for others in the future to walk along.

I started this story wanting to learn more about helping our environment, but my dad has instead taught me so much more than that. We help the environment to help those living in it. I think I’m going to frame this puzzle, put it somewhere for people to see. It stands as a reminder to everyone that there’s good being done to help the world. I give all the credit of my new revelation to my father and the rest of GRID Alternatives. Thank you for teaching me both about our environment and how to help its people. 

Thank you, Sophya, for this beautiful piece about your dad. The work of Earth stewardship is multigenerational. It's great to see parents and their kids having conversations about sustainability. Happy Father's Day to all the dad's, dad-figures, role models, mentors, and caretakers out there from GRID GLA.




GRID Alternatives is a 501c3 non-profit that offers 

  • Free solar panels to income qualified families
  • Free solar installation job training to anyone over 18 
  • Commercial solar installation for nonprofit buildings, resilience centers, government buildings, and affordable housing buildings

Contact us to learn more

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