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CONTRACTOR Spotlight: Jason Sharpe, Namasté Solar

Changing the Lens of Your Life

About…

Epiphanies are funny things. Many say that usually they represent magic moments that have significant impact and can change forever the trajectory of someone’s life. Others refer to epiphanies as “aha! moments.” Jason Sharpe actually began his electrical career with an epiphany. In 1989, while traveling in Australia, his whole perspective changed in a moment of clarity about the fact that electricity was the key to humanity’s ability to thrive, and that learning to create it sustainably was key to its survival. This realization altered the course of his career and provided him a lens for his life about the interconnectedness of all living things.

Harnessing the sun to create electricity in a sustainable way became his goal. He earned his degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Vermont, and about the same time the Y2K phenomenon launched his solar career. After several years of managing Jade Mountain and then Real Goods Solar, Jason decided a hands-on approach to learning the electrical trade was essential to getting a complete understanding of the electrical industry.

“Being an apprentice was the best job I ever had,” says Jason. “I loved working with my hands and learning about the trade.” In 2006, he discovered Namasté Solar and was able to combine his theoretical background, business experience, and hands-on trade experience as a co-owner. “Namasté Solar offered a unique work experience. Its mission is propagating the responsible use of solar energy, pioneering conscientious business practices, and creating holistic wealth for the company and its community.”

Solar was what first attracted Jason; the company’s culture and mission are what have kept him there. “We are proud to be an employee-owned company and a Certified Benefit Corporation that strives to conduct its business so that it works for all of its stakeholders. Our goal is to help transform business to be a force for good in the world, not just to pursue profit,” says Jason. “I love coming to work with my fellow owners and enjoy the supportive environment we’ve created. Working as a team of owners creates high levels of engagement and care resulting in superior quality, savings of time and money for our customers and partners, and ultimately strengthens the community we live and work in.”

Most successful work habits…

“One of the mottos we live by at Namasté Solar is ‘no one of us is as smart as all of us,’” says Jason. “I firmly believe that the people closest to any issue have the best insight on how to solve it.” Learning how to push an initiative while listening and adjusting through feedback has been a powerful lesson for Jason. He contends that working on taking ego out as much as possible and letting people help shape the best solutions has been a secret to Namasté Solar’s success.

Best business books…

Reinventing Organizations by Frederic Laloux and The Company We Keep by John Abrams are two of Jason’s favorite business reads. They both focus on the kind of unique business model and democratic decision-making Namasté Solar has created. “Both books have inspired me to further develop our business model and helped me understand several of the things I need to continue to improve on as a leader,” Jason says.

Being part of IECRM…

“The IECRM is the best partner and educational provider we have found to help foster the careers of our electrical professionals. I’ve served on the Board of Directors and now as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees,” he says. “It’s invaluable for members to be part of shaping the IECRM and the future of electrical contracting to maximize the benefit for the students and the businesses. Creating an inclusive business that provides education and career development is essential for Namasté Solar us to live our mission.”

Heroes…

“I’d have to say my parents. They are both entrepreneurs that started and ran their own businesses when I was growing up,” says Jason. “Along with perseverance and hard work, they also taught me the value of community, how to be generous with others, as well as trusting that support will be provided from that same community.”

Best advice for colleagues, apprentices, and business owners…

Jason believes that business and capitalism are powerful engines that can create change and prosperity. “Unfortunately, today our economy is working for fewer and fewer people, and we need to use the power of business for transformation,” he says. “Never lose sight of striving to be a force for good. By harnessing the power of inclusive business and shared ownership at Namasté Solar we are working to be part of this solution.”   

 

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