I recently went to Los Angeles to learn more about the solar industry and make some contacts. I learned a great deal at the conference about where in the value chain I wanted to work and where I could make the most impact. The Penn State connection, however, started to work while I was on the plane.
Sitting in the middle seat going across the country is not exactly anyone’s idea of fun. But as I was finishing my work on the computer (with my alligator arms) I decided to strike up a conversation with the guy sitting next to me. As it turns out, he was a PSU alum, a former Accenture senior consultant, and a partner friend of his had just started a solar energy company. This was right up my alley. So, we exchanged contact information – and if it pays off, it’s a direct result of working the PSU network…and braving the middle seat!
The Penn State network continued to work as I navigated the exhibit floor. A 1997 alum had recently switch jobs to work for Yes! Solar Solutions, a subsidiary of Solar Power Inc. In true form, I was welcomed at the company’s booth, learned a ton about the residential solar market, and made plans to meet up later that evening.
I hear (and often preach) about the network here at Penn State – it was actually a major factor in coming to Penn State. But the more I contact alumni, the more I realize how important the network is….not that I need to get up on the soapbox and preach some more!