John B. Conger grew up on his family’s farm in Tennessee; here he is driving a tractor, siblings in tow.[/caption]
1. What’s your position with Brightergy? How long have you been working here?
Commercial Solar Development. I recently had my 1-year anniversary with Brightergy.
2. Where are you from/where did you grow up? What’s your background (educational/work)?
I am from the beautiful state of Tennessee. Born in Knoxville, TN and raised on our family farm in Fayetteville, TN that has been in our family since 1805. The home I grew up in was built by my ancestors in 1808. My family heritage is founded on agriculture production and my primary job as a kid was helping my father run our swine and cattle operation. The best form of therapy for me is raking hay on a tractor and deer hunting.
My background in agriculture led me to a degree in Biosystems & Environmental Engineering from the University of Tennessee. After graduation, a general job in Engineering didn’t appeal to me, so I accepted a position as a Sales Engineer in Ft. Lauderdale, FL with a Hydraulic and Pneumatic company, selling our products to manufacturers. After four years, I formed a partnership selling turn-key automated assembly and robotic lines to the automotive, medical, and military sectors. We provided solutions to assemble and test high-production and high-liability components. My passion rests in the renewable energy field, and I made a career decision to pivot towards the energy industry as opportunities seemed to be endless. A couple of months later, I got my start in the renewable energy sector with a commercial solar company in Hunstville, AL working as a Project Engineer. After researching the Missouri solar market, I came across Brightergy and realized they had a position that was a solid fit.
3. Why solar? What first got you interested in renewable energy?
The robotics industry led me to provide a proposal for a start-up solar panel manufacturer who needed a complete automated assembly line to produce solar modules. This project was extremely intriguing and opened my eyes to the direction of the solar industry as viable energy alternative. I knew that this was where I wanted my career to head. My background in agriculture and affinity for the outdoors, coupled with a field that I envisioned growing throughout my lifetime, led me to invest my skillsets in this arena.
4. What is something people might not know about your job and/or what you do?
Sales guys can carry a stereotypical persona. I have never seen myself as a salesman but rather operate in a role as a consultant. The foundation of my role is to build relationships and cultivate those over time. I believe integrity and consistency in what I say and do are key attributes to building trust with our clients. My conviction in speech is only as strong as the people at Brightergy supporting the product and services for which I am advising to integrate into their business plan. I must feel compelled that our team is going to deliver on my word and promises that I make to our clients, or I am simply a fraud. That is one of the beauties here; I believe we have some of the best people in their respected fields operating in concert to build what is Brightergy – I am representing you and am only as good as our people that make this engine run. This role shapes me in the area of facing any fear of rejection, which is not always easy.
5. How do you define sustainability?
Working with nature and not against it.
6. When you’re not working for Brightergy, what do you enjoy doing with your free time?
I married my wife for a number of reasons; one of those primary factors was that I could live anywhere and just do life with her, wherever that be. We spend a lot of time together and enjoy it, as she is my best friend. We love sports, outdoors, reading, praying and studying together, teaching within our community, resting in the country, enjoying farmland, cool architecture, and listening to music. I like to think alone and envision what lies ahead and chart out a path on how to get there. I’m consumed with how to best use my time here while on this earth and it drives me.
John B. with his wife.[/caption]
7. What’s something your coworkers might not know about you?
One of the most relaxing things for me to do is to stare at cows in the open pasture. That may seem odd to some, but it is true – my worries just fade away. I was awarded Grand Champion Heifer (female cow) at the TN State. When I heard my wife grew up on a farm, I told her I was going to pursue her and not too long afterwards, she was my wife.
Another real passion of mine rests in finding ways to solve the global water crisis. I have been pressing towards a goal of getting on the mission field to help bring clean water to underdeveloped regions of the world. This May, I have my first opportunity to travel to Uganda as we look to partner with an organization to supply villages with clean water through solar water pumping stations – I’m stoked about it! (Editor’s note: John B. actually just left for his trip to Uganda!)
7. Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Davy Crockett and Jesus Christ.
Did you meet last week’s BrighterFaces post? Meet Jeff Lassonde, a Brightergy Solar Estimator in St. Louis.