GRID's "How I Got Here" Series: Peter Barragan

This is the latest in a series of regular profiles introducing the GRID Alternatives Greater Los Angeles staff. In their own way, each member of our team brings a passion for renewable energy to the day-to-day work of Los Angeles' most socially-minded solar company. Here's how one of them got to that point: Peter Barragan, Construction Coordinator.

Peter Barragan is a Los Angeles native who recently moved to another one of our most important cities for the program, Long Beach. Wherever he goes, he carries with him his skills in construction and people management, communication, and problem-solving. Some of that was useful in his pre-GRID Alternatives life, where he was responsible for behavioral outcomes working with autistic youth and individuals of different abilities. He ended up making a successful career change into renewable energy that defines him today.

Several years back, Peter heard about GRID as he was researching training opportunities. Interested in becoming an electrician, he felt sure that some training in our program would add the right experiences to his curriculum vitae. He attended an orientation, and it worked! The hands-on practice Peter got in the Greater Los Angeles office helped him secure a job in the electrical trades less than a month down the road.

It wasn't long before he got a call back, though. In light of his hard work ethic and great attitude, Peter got a personal invitation to apply for our SolarCorps program, which forges a pathway into the renewable energy sector for individuals intent on building a career. After his successful interview, Peter took a SolarCorps Fellowship in Construction—training which resulted in a full-time job after the Fellowship term.

By his own admission, Peter's left his mark on our practices in so many ways. When he came to GRID, the local team had a list of uncompleted tie-ins that stretched on and on. Dozens of other projects hadn't been moved to inspection but needed to be. And the records in our database weren't standardized or complete enough to be of optimal use. But as soon as SolarCorps began providing him with resources, Peter began providing our team with benefits! He was able to significantly improve processes that helped Outreach and Construction departments achieve more success installing solar.

What was a key? Peter's managers think that his background in behavioral work has been a goldmine. His tendency to patiently gather and distribute information has facilitated better interactions between Construction and other departments, and the regional team trusts him to be a liaison for a variety of tasks. Service calls, maintaining the vehicle fleet, and dealing with clients' wants and needs all fit into his daily work life. He's been involved in inspections and data logging, too—and helped GRID stakeholders take on responsibility in these systems and follow best practices. "I interact with every volunteer and intern that comes through here, and they typically look to me to answer, 'Where am I going today?'" he says.

Rubbing elbows with installers and trainees from so many walks of life has exposed him to stories, and it's these life stories that inspire Peter the most. He also takes it upon himself to go to the next level as a listener: proactively helping people find their place at GRID. "When I, in the past, have seen people confused about where to go, I looked around and asked, 'Who's going to direct these people?' And I realized, it's got to be me if no one else is doing it. I'll step in and direct people where to go." He is equally comfortable ensuring that somebody's daily experience is positive and providing individuals with sustained advice and support. Recognizing that not everybody GRID serves comes to the company with the same level of encouragement from their families and friends, he participates in conversations every day that help people determine their purpose.

"A career gives you purpose. And family gives you purpose, but you need a career to support your family," Peter believes. "That's why I like working here—we supply that career path to make you successful." In late September, Peter was part of a Construction group that traveled to the 2018 Solar Power International industry event. He saw old friends from GRID who were rocking in their new lives: "I went to SPI to see the job fair, and I saw a bunch of guys that used to come around here all the time. They were like, 'I've been working. My girl and I are getting our own place. This and that. It's beautiful!'"

Even when it's chaotic managing a busy installation schedule, Peter sees a purpose and path to success and helps GRID stick to it. As he moves into his third year with the company, he's looking forward to growing in responsibility and nurturing new skills. We're proud to let you know that you'll see Peter if you set foot in our warehouse, and that he'll be your talented guide to all things GRID.