“Work done in the spirit of service is the highest form of worship."
Marion is our Senior Electrical Engineer at Solar Support and she is our Power Systems Pursuer: always in search of learning and experiencing the world at a higher level. “Learning is something I really enjoy in the different aspects of my life,” Marion shares. “I keep pursuing higher education, so I am getting my masters degree in Power Systems; I am learning Korean since I am a fan of BTS, and I also love dancing and singing.”
She’s also connected to her faith. A quote that is particularly present for Marion throughout her days is:
"All that which ye potentially possess can, however, be manifested only as a result of your own volition."
Inspired through travel + culture
Electrical engineering comes naturally to Marion. Born in Huancayo, Peru in the Andean Mountains, Marion shares that her dad used to keep his tools in the living room and she loved playing with them and trying to fix things that were around the room. “My favorite tool was the soldering gun,” Marion says, “which I used to solder my toys.”
Marion didn’t stay in Peru, however. “I offered two years of service to the Baha'i Faith in Bolivia and Nicaragua… the goal of my service was to build community, seeking to raise capacity among all ages of the population to take charge of their spiritual, intellectual and material development.”
After she moved to the U.S., she pursued her degree in electrical engineering at UC Davis. “During my senior year I volunteered at the UC Davis Energy Efficiency Center. I got involved in the ‘Lighting the Way Zambia’ project… we wanted to replace kerosene lamps with low-cost LED lamps in developing countries. I was able to learn about renewable energy and became fascinated with it,” Marion says. “At UCD I was also able to join the Inano research group to help investigate ways of making solar cells more affordable.”
Upon graduating, Marion spent time at Schilling Robots as a manufacturing engineer creating test fixtures; after my contract was done, she realized she wanted to work in the solar industry, however, they required 2 or more years of experience which she did not currently have. A lifelong learner, Marion went back to college to get her Solar Energy Practitioner and NABCEP certifications.
“During that time, I started to do some residential solar PV and small commercial design, and volunteered with Grid Alternatives,” she shares. “Once I finished my certification, I worked at SMA for 8 months and then went to work as a project engineer at Blue Oak Energy. About three years ago, I got my professional engineering license and started working at Solar Support. I am also serving on the Baha'i Training Institute Board of Directors in California.”
Led by purpose
Marion was led to solar with home in mind. “During the era of terrorism in my country, many electrical towers were bombarded on a weekly basis in my hometown, so we lacked electricity at night,” Marion says. “Also, because the power infrastructure was very poor, we had to ration electricity. In the higher Andean altitudes of Peru, winter frosts can kill hundreds of children. People in these places simply do not have the means to keep themselves warm. Even though solar rays in the Andes are strong enough to provide energy for these households, there is no solar technology available for people who lack economic resources.”
Marion shares that she feels it’s also devastating to see the negative effects that global warming is having on our planet. “Renewable energy is growing in the United States and around the world; solar energy is especially expanding, since this technology is more sustainable and good for the environment,” Marion says. “I would like to use the skills and knowledge that I gain to be able to learn how to integrate this new technology, as well as other sources of renewable energy, like wind, with existing power plants and to the grid. In this way we could help provide clean and affordable energy to populations that already have access to electricity, and clean energy to those impoverished places that do not yet have electricity at all. This makes my work more meaningful.”
The wonder of the wolfpack
“The first day I started to work at SMA, I met Cliff and Auston,” Marion says of their shared experience. “I developed strong ties of friendship with Cliff since we worked on the same team; and I was amazed at his data analysis skills. I always admired him for his knowledge, kindness and humility. When the opportunity came, I was asked to help Solar Support to perform a Root Cause Analysis and I joined the team in May 2019.”
Make our stumbling blocks stepping-stones to progress
“Solar Support has a beautiful culture, there is no trace of authoritarianism or any feelings of superiority on the team,” Marion shares openly. “We are aware that all of us are contributing to something great and we love our work. There is always positive feedback, but when we need to reflect on something that may have not worked out, we routinely ‘make our stumbling blocks stepping-stones to progress.’”
The knowledge and experience of many of the members of the team creates a strong synergy that makes Solar Support professionals experts in this field. “We are constantly learning, and we are happy to share the lessons learned with our clients or those who need assistance.”
Never stop learning + growing
“I appreciate the opportunities that I have had, which I probably would not have had if I had remained in my country,” Marion says. “Being a woman, Latina, and a mom in this field that is mostly run by males has been full of obstacles. However, as the quote I mentioned at the beginning said, I always push myself to keep learning, and growing. I am so grateful to the SoS team that supports my career growth. Being a senior engineer puts a lot of responsibility on my shoulders and motivates me to keep growing.”
Keep up with the team. Reach out to Marion on LinkedIn.