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Women in Solar: Sam Koch

  • October 7th, 2016
  • admin

It’s no mystery that women are underrepresented in the solar industry. At RBI Solar, we’re working to change that. The solar industry offers unparalleled opportunities for career growth and learning in a wide variety of fields, from marketing/sales, finance/accounting, engineering, and designing.

Our solar women are making big moves in the industry and continually shine as key players of our team.

But don’t take our word for it.

Here are their stories.


How did you get started in the solar industry?

You can almost say I fell into the solar industry! I’d worked with RBI Greenhouses, in the Mass Retail Maintenance group for over four and a half years when I decided that it was time for a career change. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do next, what could make me happy and could call a career, when [Rough Brothers president] Rich Reilly suggested I interview with different areas within the company. [RBI Solar general manager] Bill Vietas and I had a chat about what I may be able to offer RBI Solar, and I joined on!

What attracted you to it?

After my discussion with Bill, I became so excited. The solar industry is so new–so full of different approaches–and as a whole, it fascinated me with the opportunities and ideas that were possible. RBI Solar has a broad portfolio in the industry, which allows an extensive array of knowledge and insight to different approaches that are cost-effective to the installer and end customer. Being able to discuss scientific, financial, mechanical, and marketing approaches and techniques in one round table discussion is possible every day! It really satisfies my curious and calculating mind, which I greatly appreciate.

How long have you been in the solar industry?

I will have been with RBI Solar for 1 year, as of October 26th.

What do you do at RBI Solar?

I handle operations for Renusol, which is our residential and commercial roof mounting solutions. My responsibilities include process development, supply chain management and procurement, as well as oversight and guidance at our warehouse and manufacturing facilities, setting minimum stock quantities based off sales forecasts, and financial reporting. Whew! Sometimes I enjoy helping out customers and installers. Complaints, questions, or insight on installations or product really help improvements for product development or future projects.

What has been your proudest accomplishment at RBI Solar so far?

It’s hard to determine my proudest accomplishment at RBI Solar so far. I feel very humble in most aspects and very thankful for the opportunities given to me. I’m grateful for the team I work with and enjoy meeting the people within the industry. That being said, receiving photos of our product being installed is so overwhelming satisfying, it really makes me feel proud of what I do.

What advice would you give to women starting out in the solar industry or looking to get into it?

Never limit yourself! While you may be hired for your degree or background, never turn down an opportunity to sit in with another group within the company or an open discussion on codes and standards. Networking within the solar industry, you find many people in various backgrounds and they all are more than willing to teach more, guide you into a different mindset, or help you gain a better understanding outside of the box you may have started in.

The solar industry, like I mentioned before, has many aspects that open doors into the unknown. I definitely believe that the industry is for the curious and never satisfied, as every person I’ve met seems to never turn their brain off.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Network, network, network. The solar industry is the most inviting group I’ve ever met, and you won’t believe the people you meet. From company presidents to installers, everyone has something to bring to the table. Since the solar industry is relatively new, most companies heavily involved within the industry has connections outside the industry, and may lead to other opportunities if you choose. I would say that out of all the industries out there, I am very happy to have landed in the broad world of solar.


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