Like most kids, Rebecca Colson’s daughter thinks her mom has a pretty important job. But unlike most moms, Rebecca has worked over 300 feet above the ground performing maintenance on wind turbines. With her tower climbing days now behind her, Rebecca spends her time surrounded by acres of solar panels as the only female solar technician at DTE Energy.
Rebecca was inspired to pursue a career in energy by her dad, who worked for the Lansing Board of Water & Light as a power plant operator. Taking the motivation from her dad and coupling it with her lifelong interest in the environment, Rebecca found her niche working in the renewable energy field.
“I followed his path,” Rebecca says about her father. But it was the environmental science classes she took in high school that led her to wind and solar.
After high school, Rebecca attended the Michigan Institute of Aviation and Technology to get the training she needed to pursue a career in renewable energy. Armed with a certificate in Power Technology, Rebecca initially worked as a wind technician before deciding to move into solar and relocate to Arizona.
“Arizona is a ‘solar hot spot’ because of its climate and has a lot of advanced solar technology,” said Rebecca. “With the industry experiencing rapid growth, Arizona was a great place to get experience in the field.” But after a few years away, Rebecca wanted to come home to Michigan.
Finding a position with DTE’s Renewable Energy Operations and Maintenance team gave Rebecca exactly what she was looking for – a good job close to friends and family that also provided opportunities to grow professionally and do work that helps protect the environment. And being the only woman on her team has never been an issue.
“DTE has been really good to me,” Rebecca said. “I don’t think my gender plays much of a role. Solar Operations is such a small group, and we all get along really well.”
Knowing that she is part of generating clean energy for Michigan is something Rebecca feels good about every day. And she loves being able to tell her daughter that the work she is doing is helping to protect the environment for her family and generations to come.