- Why do you feel the need to fight so strongly and forcefully for the solar industry?
- Why must you purposely provoke the other side with what you write?
- Why do you engage with your critics, sometimes in lengthy discussions where you are clearly not going to convince them of anything, and they will certainly not convince you?
- Why do you seem to enjoy the process so much?
Let me give you a few insights into who I am so that you can draw your own conclusions, good or bad, about why I do what I do.
(I should note here that if you choose to Google me to find out more about me, please make note that I am the writer Frank Andorka, not the internationally well-known copyright and trademark lawyer Frank Andorka. That’s Dad.)
I am, by nature, a fighter. When I was 10, I was diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus, had a blood clot in my kidney and spent two weeks in the hospital. My mother decided early on that she wasn’t going to let me feel sorry for myself or let the disease get the best of me. She is also a fighter, and she has imbued me with that same spirit. I beat it into remission and have never looked back.
In 1999, I battled and beat Stage 1 testicular cancer (ironically, the same year Lance Armstrong came back from his cancer battle to win his first Tour de France — his was Stage 3 and therefore much worse than what I had). I have also battled Mixed Connective Tissue Disease since 1999 (although initially it took a back seat to beating the cancer). In 2010, within a three-week period:
- My wife Beth was hospitalized for a deep-vein thrombosis (extending from her pelvis to her knee) that almost killed her;
- I lost my job after 17 years with the same company; and
- Beth was rehospitalized for the DVT because she had a rare immune-mediated allergy to heparin, the blood-thinner they’d given her to treat the clot.
Bottom line? I’ve faced the abyss on multiple occasions. As a result, I have no fear of anything or anybody and, I refuse to back down from a fight.
I also have a master’s degree in history (modern German, to be exact, which means anything after its unification in 1870) from the fine liberal arts institution The College of Wooster (well, I got my masters’ degree from Indiana University under special circumstances, but that’s a funny story for another day). My experiences there told me that being provocative was OK, as long as you were willing to deal with the potential consequences (which I clearly am). And as someone who is also a self-professed aficionado of the American Civil Rights Movement, I know that a little agitation can change the world.
Those experiences also taught me that the only way to understand any issue or situation is to listen honestly and try to see the other side of an argument. That does not mean we have to agree; but what it does mean is that we all have to treat each other with a modicum of respect. Otherwise, you end up with the nonsensical gridlock we are currently experiencing in Congress. That’s why I find conversations with even my harshest critics to be valuable — and give voice to their objections whether I agree with them or not.
Why do I seem to enjoy engaging my critics? This I don’t know. It’s probably some sort of genetic defect inherited from my mother and father. But it’s a skill that I used as a member of Model United Nations in high school and college, and on my half-hour public affairs radio show, The View From Here (first as a panelist and then as host) at 90.3 WCWS at Wooster (I was also a Top 40 DJ on Friday mornings — I called myself “Fast Frankie A.” — and I hosted a Broadway and Hollywood musical extravaganza on Saturday mornings, but those also are stories for another day). I just love to have discussions on the deep issues facing the solar industry today, and I plan on doing it for years to come.
I hope this little soliloquy gives you some insights about why I am so willing to fight so hard for the solar industry — and I will continue to be a passionate advocate for the industry until I breathe my last. Keep the conversations going. It’s what I live for.
Now for a couple of small housekeeping items:
- My email address has changed. It’s now firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note it — that’s where I’ll be receiving my hate mail from now on.
- I’d like to take a moment to welcome Kathie Zipp (please note the spelling of her first name — it is not Katie or Kathy and any myriad other misspellings. It’s Kathie — you now have no excuse for messing it up), associate editor, to the Solar Power World team full-time. She’s written about renewable energy her entire career and is one of the hardest working journalists I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. You can reach her at email@example.com.
- I would also like to welcome Yann Brandt, president of the Braya Solar Group, who will be guest-blogging on our site from time-to-time. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please take a moment to welcome him to the Solar Power World team as well.