Get to know us! Each month, we sit down with one of our employees to get their perspective on the industry and share a little more about them with you. This month, our “5 Questions With” features Andrew Vietze, VP of Project Finance. Andrew leads the Development Finance team which manages acquisitions and dispositions and helps with the financial analysis of new markets.
1. What does Pine Gate Renewable’s mission of “getting solar done” mean to you?
To me this mission is about an attitude of trying to be solution-oriented on all of the projects we develop. While Pine Gate certainly measures risks, we always try to find reasons to continue with a project in the face of challenges. I think this has actually made us a very good partner as a buyer of projects relative to others in the market in that our motivations align with development partners and we rarely sweat the minor hiccups. In addition to that, I see this as a general industry mindset where we are very close with other developers and constantly collaborating in markets and sharing ideas with the end goal of putting as much solar in the ground as possible.
2. What are you most optimistic/excited about in this industry?
I am most excited about the next wave of advancement in technology. Although solar has recently become a major energy resource, it was almost non-existent at scale outside the Southwest 10 years ago. The recent boom in solar has been primarily driven by cost savings, but I think everyone in the industry understands that cannot continue forever. The next step is going to be advancement in technology whether it be around how sites are constructed, storage or some other way to more efficiently produce solar energy.
3. What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received?
A former boss of mine gave me the best advice when discussing company culture. He had a deep background in consulting, so he had worked with a significant amount of companies across various industries. He explained two specific factors in nearly every successful company. The first was creating a work environment that was sustainable, not meaning that work weeks were limited to 40 hours, but understanding that everyone needs a life outside the office and investing time in their personal and career development producers the best outcomes. In addition to that, he explained that the best companies all have a low “jerk-factor.” You can achieve a lot more by discussing problems and creating learning opportunities than by keeping everyone on eggshells. As my job can be very demanding and problems arise given the risks of development, I always try to be conscious of both of these in my day-to-day.
4. What is an unknown skill you possess outside of your day job?
This may sound a little ridiculous but I think I am one of the most skilled people at walking two dogs together. I have a pair of dogs that are distracted by everything – bikers, joggers, squirrels, bunnies, plants they want to eat, each other, etc. I have mastered maneuvering their leashes to keep a constant pace despite their hectic pattern.
5. What’s one thing still on your bucket list that you hope to achieve in the next 5 years?
I’m a big golfer, so the one thing on my list is to take a trip to Bandon and play all the courses out there.