At VIP our people are our greatest asset. Our success comes from our employees, and we value the contributions they provide daily. To show our appreciation, we will have a series of Employee Spotlights where we highlight those employees at VIP that exemplify the culture and values we hold.

VIP: Kristie, thanks for participating in the first employee spotlight at VIP! Please tell us about yourself.

Kristie: Thanks for having me! I’m a Director of Development here at VIP, and I’ve spent the last decade in various parts of the renewable energy industry. I started my career in marketing and communications, shifted into contracts and supply chain negotiations, spent time in business management for project financials and then moved into development, where I’ve spent the last several years focused mainly on solar and battery storage. I really appreciate that I get to do a job I’m passionate about, with the intrinsic benefit of helping others along the way, like our landowners, communities, and customers.

VIP: What goals do you have for your role at VIP?

Kristie: Being a member of this team early on gives me the chance to shape and enhance long-term goals right from the start. I’m focused on a few key items: developing a pipeline of projects, building out a tight-knit team that preserves and enhances the company culture, and growing those developers through their careers, supporting their personal goals.

VIP: What are the key attributes of a great developer?

Kristie: The core of a great developer is grit. That combined passion and perseverance can get you through every level of your development career. It’s so important to have the curiosity to learn more, ask questions, and find creative solutions; the drive to hear ‘no’ and still find a way to get to ‘yes’ and the sense of urgency to push projects forward.

VIP: What does the ideal renewable company culture look like? 

Kristie: The subcomponents of a successful company should always tie back to its culture and people. It starts with thoughtful hiring of intelligent, value-driven individuals who are passionate and take initiative. Everyone is consistently treated with respect, given the autonomy to do their job and enabled to grow their career. Questions and knowledge sharing are encouraged as the team strives toward shared success. An ideal company is trustworthy, earning loyalty by operating transparently and with integrity, and valuing everyone’s contributions. Work-life balance is more than a phrase, it’s actively encouraged and respected.

VIP: What were some of the biggest factors in deciding to join VIP?

Kristie: Apart from a competitive offer, my primary focus was on the team and their values. A paper-perfect job is easily made or broken by the people you work with and for every day.  Joining VIP is an easy decision when you get to know the people involved. Their shared values of respect and integrity come to the forefront of every conversation, the depth of their industry knowledge is only enhanced by their curiosity to learn more, and their pursuit of excellence is unmatched. There’s no team I would trust more with my future. I firmly believe that the culture we’re creating here at VIP aligns with my ideal company culture, and I’m excited to keep adding to that.

VIP: What advice do you have for other women who want to break into the renewable industry?

Kristie: Don’t be afraid to reach out and expand your network; so many people are happy to bridge connections, share role-specific advice and prepare you for success. If you’re lacking a renewable-specific background, focus on your transitional soft skills—project management, organization, communication, ability to learn and passion to do so. It’s much easier to teach how to be a developer than to teach those core skillsets. And lastly, persevere. Keep looking for opportunities, don’t wait to meet 100% of the job description before applying, and value yourself for what you bring to the table. You are wanted here and there is a place for your talent and voice.

VIP: Thanks for taking the time to answer questions, last one: what do you like to do for fun when you’re not working?

Kristie: It’s been a pleasure. In our free time, my husband and I like to stay active and enjoy nature. Living out in Colorado, that mostly equates to skiing and hiking. We’re still getting comfortable with skiing more aggressive terrain and moguls, but we have checked off a few big hikes like Angel’s Landing over in Zion National Park. If you don’t have a fear of heights, I’d highly recommend it!