In 2019, the solar industry employed nearly 20,000 military veterans, about 8% of the total solar workforce. Roger Wrigley is one of many veterans who have made the transition from the armed forces to the solar industry. Solar Power World checked in with Wrigley this Veterans Day to learn how his background of safety, construction and law enforcement have made him an effective employee overseeing solar project construction.
Wrigley has a long history of protecting the health and safety of others. He served in the U.S. Army from 1987 to 1991 and was stationed in Germany as an electrician where he built roads and buildings on foreign soil. He was later deployed to Operation Desert Storm with a Combat Engineer Unit. Leaving the Army as a Specialist E-4, Wrigley later served seven years as a mechanic in the National Guard.
In his civilian life, he completed an 18-year career in law enforcement, obtaining the rank of Lieutenant. He then pursued his master’s degree in Occupational Health and Safety, while working in the pharmaceutical, healthcare and natural gas industries as an occupational health and safety manager. Wrigley transitioned back to his first love — construction — this time in the emerging solar industry.
The U.S. Army veteran has been with national EPC CS Energy since 2017. He began with the firm as a Safety Manager. The skills that Wrigley used in the Army — constructing projects in new territory, adapting to unforeseen circumstances, protecting his fellow soldiers — apply every day to his work at CS Energy. Those higher on the chain of command have seen Wrigley transform the company’s safety program and culture with his understanding of project execution and safety requirements. Most recently Wrigley was promoted to Superintendent and now works in the field, ensuring CS Energy’s projects are executed with safety and quality.
“Working in solar has been rewarding in so many ways,” said Wrigley. “My work combines my love of construction — of seeing something emerge from nothing — with the responsibility of doing everything I can to keep my team safe. Add that to the knowledge that what we’re building will have a positive impact on the community, and it’s a perfect fit for me.”
Several federal programs are actively seeking to bring more veterans like Wrigley into the solar industry, including Solar Ready Vets, which is supported by The Solar Foundation, SEIA and the Department of Energy. For information on participating in the program as an employee or employer, visit americansolarworkforce.org.
CS Energy is actively looking to employ former service members of the U.S. Armed Forces to join the 6.5% of its team that are veterans. Please check the solar company’s careers section for more information.