“INTERNal Input”

By Ashlee Bishop

As a returning Intern in GRAEF’s Corporate Marketing group through the Earn and Learn Initiative, the importance and effectiveness of my position are often issues of concern, for me personally. In an Intern position, one may find they are assisting others more than actually shadowing a specific position per se or learning independently rather than matching class based instruction with on-the-job application. So to the weary intern, entry level employee or self-proclaimed stagnant, veteran employee I have a few things you can do to increase your “range of reach” on the job:

First things first, take an inventory of your skills and talents. This may seem easy and it is; however, there are some things you should keep in mind; Skills and talents are two different things. Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines talent as “natural endowment(s) of a person.” This is something you really don’t have to try to have to accomplish while others do. Skills on the other hand are “developed aptitudes or abilities.” Slightly different from a talent, these attributes can be picked up along the way from any aspect of life and development. Both of these qualifications are vitally important to this professional appraisal.

Next, practice perfecting said professional attributes.  Once you made your list of things you can do and the things you do well; use them! Whenever, wherever and with whom ever; practice, practice, practice, this the only way you can surely mature an expertise. Plus the added experience, I think adds to your work-related worth. Now as my grandma would say, “Now, you’re cooking with grease!” Not only have we uncovered your skill set but we are using them often.

Then, I want you to lend a helping hand! Help any and everyone, where applicable. Offer up your assistance frequently but not to the point where it becomes bothersome. Go off the feedback you are receiving, if the person appreciates your help, is always happy to have you and usually has something for you to do then, very well carry on! But if their facial expression changes when you enter their presence, even though you are only looking to help, ask that person a little less. While you are “on the job” with each person and their project you’re assisting with, go above and beyond even if you are not being paid. This way, you can let your work reflect your worth!

In addition to now knowing your professional capabilities, so do the people you work with. One last thing, don’t be afraid to inform or remind others of what you can do or have done. This way the things you are allowed to do may expand. If people don’t know of your mentoring abilities or the team-oriented attitude even when you are not the leader, then perhaps they will not consider you for projects that call for these attributes. So go ahead, when your team/ department is discussing upcoming tasks, mention your “outside of the office” experience with something similar and don’t forget to mention the results. This can cause others to become more flexible with your work assignments and in essence value your skills and assistance.

Hopefully these tips allow you to define your standing in your current position, increase your status/organizational prestige, and augment your responsibilities within your organization!

Incentives – The Catalyst to 100% Energy Independence

By Gino Bernardi

PV Solar

PV Solar


There is no doubt that government subsidies increase the adoption rate of sustainable construction.  Everyone is attracted to “free money.” Some subsidies can significantly affect the financial outlook on projects such as photovoltaic (PV) solar installation. For example, there are some reports of PV solar projects achieving internal rate of returns greater than 20%, which would not have been possible without the subsidy. The most exemplary government subsidy in this regard is Germany’s Feed in Tariff program. Germany’s policies became the status quo of the PV industry. They were so powerful that many financial analysts and economists believe that the financial collapse of the PV manufacturing industry was triggered after Germany began scaling back their Feed in Tariff program in 2010. That is an extreme example of a government subsidy which had such a profound effect on adoption that it created an artificial and unsustainable glut of global PV modules.

From data collected up to 2010, the volume of PV solar capacity in Germany was 17 gigawatts (GW), while Spain’s volume was 3.7 GW (2010 Solar Technologies Market Report). Most surprising, is that Germany’s total level of solar radiation is comparable to that of Alaska. Surely, Germany would not have achieved such a huge level of PV capacity without their popular Feed in Tariff program. All of these facts are important because they clearly demonstrate the power that regulatory action has over adopters of clean technology.

This particular example has shown how incentives do speed up the adoption rate of sustainable technology, but would a slower adoption rate be fast enough without incentives? The answer to that question requires a step back in history at least 10 to 20 years ago.  Sustainability is not a new concept. We have had an understanding of sustainability for quite a long time now. It was once referred to as socio-environmental-economic impact. Furthermore, we have been well aware of the global warming trend (a likely derivative of unsustainable construction) for the last 20 years or so. Yet, 10 – 20 years ago solar panels were more like tech toys for scientists, while the US was spending a huge amount of time, money, and focus on securing unsustainable foreign energy. Developing energy “at home” was not on the priority list.

The result of this lack of regulatory incentives demonstrably led to slower adoption of clean technology relative to today’s adoption rate. Whether it be considered too slow is likely still up to debate by critics on both sides. Personally, I find the improved quality of sustainable technology a major improvement over the past alternatives. I would like to see a future of 100% energy independence and until that day happens, the adoption rate will never be fast enough.