“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” -Teddy Roosevelt
Today is a day to honor American veterans of all wars. It is a day most people acknowledge and respect, but maybe – mostly just appreciate the day off. Voltus is actually the first company since I left active duty who recognizes Veterans Day! So, I too appreciate the day off. With that, I want to share what being a Veteran means to me.
Indoc had begun. What I thought Indoc – Indoctrination – would resemble was something close to summer camp and getting to know each other and learn (very kumbaya). I was wrong – very wrong – and in for a rude awakening. Indoc is abbreviated boot camp. With my first step onto the bus to take me to base, Gunny started yelling at me. I apologized: “Sorry Sir,” which sent him apoplectic. Turns out you don’t call gunnery sergeants “Sir.”
My family ties to the military ended with grandfathers I barely knew. I did not grow up learning about the ranks, the branches of the military and their history. I just knew I wanted to be part of the greatest American tradition – be part of something great. I was named after my father’s fraternity brother (Stephen) who died in the Vietnam War. I grew up listening to my father opine about the greatness of the military. He had enlisted in the Navy during the Vietnam War – got rejected due to a heart condition – and then was drafted, and subsequently disqualified when they found out about his medical status. It was his greatest regret not having the opportunity to serve, and I would not have that same regret.
Before my friendly greeting by Gunny on the bus, my father said goodbye and reminded me, that this was “a great time to be in the military – it is a time of peace. You will learn and be given amazing opportunities you cannot find anywhere else.” Three weeks later was September 11, 2001. It was time to prepare for battle. The tradition expanded. The mission even more critical.
Four years later I landed on The Big Stick (USS Theodore Roosevelt – an aircraft carrier) in the Persian Gulf. It was time to finally be part of the mission. During college my Naval ROTC classmates and I shared a lot of similarities, but now that I was joining Air Wing EIGHT in an active war zone, my new teammates ran the gamut. A variety of backgrounds, experiences, ages, ethnicities, but we were all there for a single purpose: the mission. We had almost nothing in common except our drive to serve. This is where I learned the true definition of camaraderie.
The people I served with – most I haven’t seen in 10+ years – shared a unique experience, bond and mission with me. It is the people who are next to you during the endless hours, who ensure together you achieve success – no matter the stress, no matter the sacrifice. No amount of time nor separation could erode the experience. This summer, one called me and it was as if no time had passed. We still have nothing in common, but I could talk to him for hours. I hung up the phone feeling elevated – feeling grateful for the comrades I had made. Grateful for the experience I had had.
There is no doubt in my mind that the two organizations I will have “served” in my career with the greatest and most impactful camaraderie will be The United States Navy and Voltus, Inc. I can say that knowing I have many more decades ahead of me.
The parallels between the two organizations are uncanny.
- We are mission driven.
- We use our diversity of experience, backgrounds and personalities to solve problems and build something with a purpose – something we all believe in – no matter how tough.
But the greatest parallel is the camaraderie. We share a unique experience, bond and mission. No amount of separation can erode the experience we have had (and will continue to have).
2020 has been a year. Highs and lows – a lot of lows. A lot of challenges. But some great highs as well. We have been through this time together, but our team is something special. And thanks to the leadership of Gregg and Matt we have the opportunity to expand our team and mission. We might be prohibited from time together right now, but because of the bright, gritty, good people on this team, we still have a rare camaraderie that most never get to experience. This is the group of people we get to do good with. The team we get to charge into 2021 with – armed and ready for what is next.
2021 is upon us. The tradition of (and need for) demand response expanded. The mission even more critical.
I will forever be proud and grateful to have served in the Navy and forever proud and grateful to be a Voltan.
Happy Veterans Day!
Stephanie Hendricks, VP of Operations & Customer Success
Interested in becoming a Voltan and joining our mission? View all available positions at www.voltus.co/join-us.
We’re proud to announce that Voltus will begin recognizing and celebrating Juneteenth as a company holiday, and encouraging Voltans to do with Juneteenth what matters most to them. We encourage our team to deepen their understanding of the African American experience, find a movement to be part of, or become further immersed in African American cultural events.
At Voltus, we love the grit that goes into overcoming challenges to achieve success and happiness. We can’t think of a grittier success story than that of African Americans in the United States. The atrocity of the beginnings of the story, that are still being told, is eclipsed by the successes and spirit of a culture that has overcome immense oppression, an oppression that continues today. When we reflect on what this day means, we are filled with love, compassion, understanding, and respect. These are values that are on offer for all of us as we recognize the freedom that all people deserve and that many African Americans, sadly, don’t fully experience. Yet, still, the African American tapestry of contributions to what makes America great is, in so many ways, unparalleled. Our lives are filled with the joy of these contributions every moment of the day, from the bounty of the crops that feed our families to the basic freedoms we all enjoy to the artistic contributions that form the rhythmic backdrop of life.
How is it possible that an entire race and culture, enslaved to build the foundation of a country, aren’t leveled up to equal treatment nor celebrated, as they should be, as a triumph of human spirit? Perhaps collective guilt and shame. What a lost opportunity it would be for all of us to not fully understand their journey while helping them fully realize and enjoy the unalienable rights we so often take for granted.
Voltans seek to level playing fields. We are inclusive. We speak truth to power. We have an opportunity to be part of positive change. The celebration of Juneteenth will mark one small contribution to this positive change as we look for more ways to help.
There are many things that have changed since COVID-19 put the world on lockdown last month. Life has s-l-o-w-e-d d-o-w-n dramatically for many of us, bringing a throwback to days of old when travel and transport were limited, and human life centered around the home. There has also been a dramatic shift in work patterns. Since mid-March the number of employed Americans who have worked from home has nearly doubled – sitting at a whopping 62%.
The lives of Voltus employees have been impacted by this pandemic as well. A member of our engineering team literally had to flee Europe, getting on one of the final flights back to the US before the borders were closed. Our New Yorkers have been completely homebound – no walks, no fresh air, no people for over a month. Working parents are homeschooling their kids. People are geographically separated from their partners, forced to stretch even further the definition of a long-term relationship.
We did have one thing going for us when the storm hit. Voltus has always been a completely remote company; Voltans work from home by design. While many companies are scrambling to find ways to keep their employees safe and working during COVID-19, we have been able to proceed, business-as-usual. As a result, our team has remained healthy and productive, allowing us to devote our energy to helping our customers when they most need it.
Being remote by design has its benefits outside of a pandemic-scale crisis. Our customers are evenly distributed throughout the US; having a distributed team allows us to be closer to these customers and serve their needs with more immediacy. The money we would otherwise use for real estate overhead is freed up to directly reward our employees, shareholders, and customers. Being remote also allows us to build the best team, independent of geographic restrictions.
In this segment of our Bright, Gritty, and Good Vlog series, designed to give a sneak peak into Voltus culture, we take a closer look at the remote office set-ups of four Voltans, discover what motivates them, and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of remote working. Click on the pictures below to learn more.
Interested in learning more about life as a Voltan? Email us at email@example.com or chat with us by clicking on the green conversation bubble in the bottom right hand corner of your screen.
Dealing with the reality of a global pandemic is new for all of us. We don’t know the full business impact of COVID-19, but we do know it’s negative, certainly in the short term and possibly the long-term.
A business downturn results in two things:
- Organizations look to save cash.
- Organizations have more operational flexibility as manufacturing lines aren’t running at full capacity, offices aren’t fully staffed as people stick closer to home, hotels aren’t filling up, etc.
At Voltus, we are in a unique position to help you prepare for this downturn. Demand response programs turn this unforeseen operational flexibility into cash for your business.
We make it incredibly simple to enroll and get started in these programs with a simple one-page agreement. There are no out of pocket costs. There are no risks. Our technology is installed by your own electricians, keeping your team working. The entire process is remote.
Demand response is a small but important part of the solution to the challenges ahead of us. Join us in keeping our economy strong by turning COVID-19 on its head.
Stay healthy and safe,
This post is in honor of International Women’s Day, as the women of the world find their passions, strike the balance, and write their own stories. This is my story.
Last month I joined Voltus as the Director of Marketing. Just like the virtual power plants Voltus manages, the Voltus team is entirely virtual, meaning we #workfromanywhere. The result is a surprisingly close-knit group of Voltans and a company culture ruled by trust and flexibility. As a result, I’m living my dream, working hard at a job I love in a fast-paced environment with the smartest people I’ve ever met, while balancing equally demanding personal roles of wife and mother. Last week, I popped over to my daughter’s school and read a book to her class before jumping back on a work call to plan a conference in NYC. I work until dinnertime and then walk upstairs to eat with my family. I can easily sign online seconds after putting my kids to bed to finish a task.
Although this position is my current state, my professional journey has been atypical to say the least. After graduating top of my class with a degree in Chemistry from Dartmouth at 21, I rolled out of college with a six figure, 80+ hour per week job in the male dominated energy trading industry. I had the proverbial world at my feet, one of three women in an otherwise all male company. I worked hard. I did not play hard. I worked harder. Then the unthinkable happened. At 24, I got pregnant with my first child.
The backlash was intense to say the least. Like out of a Mad Men clip, I had a male colleague say to 6 month pregnant me:
Shouldn’t you be home, barefoot and pregnant, where you belong?
I’d like to say that the comments stopped with one chauvinistic co-worker, but the comments were not limited to the often cold corporate world, nor were they limited to men. Well meaning female family members and friends lamented my lost potential and how my life would never be the same.
Successful women I knew looked at me with pity, like I had violated an oath I made to my generation, to educated women everywhere. It quickly became clear that balance would not be achieved at my 80 hour per week job. I opted to take some time off and reevaluate. A month later my son was born and the next unthinkable thing happened: I didn’t want to go back to work.
The sweetness of motherhood didn’t stop the aching insecurity that I was doing things backwards, misallocating the prime of my life. Despite these feelings, I dove into momming full force. Four and a half years and three kids later, my home and heart were full, but my brain was ready for a change.
There is no way you are going to find a good job after taking time off.
Wary of needing to explain the gap in my resume, I started a business with a friend and jumped into the world of entrepreneurship, e-commerce, and marketing and eventually landed at a more established start-up doing similar work. Something was still missing though. I was the only person at my company with kids and, to be frank, I yearned to work with other parents. Sometimes school gets canceled. Sometimes children get sick. I always felt awkward needing to explain those things to a group of thirty somethings that, despite good intentions, couldn’t always relate.
In October 2019, a solution fell out of the sky in the form of a LinkedIn message from Dana Guernsey, VP of Product and Energy Markets at Voltus. Dana and I had been introduced by a mutual friend several years back. We shared an interest in energy and a college alma mater. Dana’s message was clear: Voltus was hiring. As I learned more about the company, such as their commitment to bringing more women into Cleantech (women currently constitute 40% of Voltus’s workforce and rising), applying and ultimately accepting the position was a no brainer. Voltus is an incredible group of bright, gritty, and good women and men and includes the strongest group of kick butt working moms and single parents that I’ve ever met. The values that brought Voltus to life have created a system where people, regardless of personal circumstance, can thrive. My only hope is that other organizations can emulate Voltus’s model, allowing people to make a positive impact on our planet while continuing to prioritize the things they hold dear. I’m proud to be part of the #womenofvoltus. Who else wants to join us?
Interested in learning more about current opportunities at Voltus? Click here.
A little over a year ago I posted about how cleantech has a pipeline problem with recruiting female candidates – a problem that perpetuates itself because the status quo continues to be a male-dominated industry. At Voltus, we are committed to making targeted efforts to attract women to the industry. Whereas in early 2018, 33% of our job candidates were female, and only 26% of our employees were female, today, we are at 50% of our job candidates (a goal we committed to as a leadership team), and 40% of our team. By focusing on recruiting an equal number of men as women, the employee count starts to come naturally.
Today is International Women’s Day, and for all of the forward progress we have made, women are still a ways away from full and true equality. We need to continue to fight the gender gap. In cleantech this means encouraging more women to enter, stay in, and become leaders in this amazing field. Building a cleaner and more sustainable future is one of the best opportunities to have a positive influence in the world. It impacts everyone, and getting it right makes our planet better. It is exciting, fun, and has a positive social impact . . . something that research shows women care about significantly when considering their careers.
At Voltus, we know our work is not done. We need to continue to proactively recruit female candidates . . . the male candidates still come to us easily based on our broader networks, but that is slowly changing. We have done more direct outreach to female candidates, recruited more through university networks, and posted and networked within female-based industry groups. We’ve created a culture that makes it easier for working-moms to have exciting careers in a flexible working environment. I have both a three year old and an eight month old and I know it’s hard . . . ok impossible! . . . to do it all. However, things like flexible work hours, working from home, a supportive team, and three months of paid parental leave go a long way.