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Wind energy operations managers oversee wind farm operations. They manage employees, maintenance activities, financial activities, and planning.
While wind power and windmills have been around for centuries, wind energy farms are a new “crop” in the “green” economy. Engineers and project managers design and build wind energy farms. Once they are built, operations managers are needed to oversee the day-to-day work of wind energy farms, making sure they produce energy while running well.
One of the main tasks of a wind energy operations manager is to oversee the maintenance of the equipment used in a wind farm. For example, they determine if towers or transformers need cleaning or repair. Because wind energy farms are located in rural areas, or even in the ocean, managers make sure roadways and other transportation methods are maintained. This ensures that workers, engineers, and technicians can reach them easily. Operations managers often must order parts and equipment needed for maintenance and upgrades.
Operations managers often work with engineers and project managers as new farms become operational. They develop relationships with customers, site managers, land owners, and residents. They also prepare budgets. Operations managers work with local utility representatives and local government authorities. They must have excellent communication skills. They must also be organized and detail-oriented. Keeping records of conversations, contracts, and maintenance is very important.
A big part of running a wind energy farm is managing employees. Managers supervise employees and subcontractors. They make sure work is performed well and that all safety regulations are followed. They oversee budgets and costs, schedules, and timelines. Like any manager, they resolve any conflicts that may arise, whether it is over a budget item or a deadline. They may also recruit and hire employees and contractors. They often help train new employees so they can learn day-to-day tasks and how to perform the work safely and in compliance with regulations and codes.
Analysts expect that the wind-power industry will continue to grow rapidly. This is due to government incentives and increased consumer interest.
Helpful High School Courses
In high school, take classes that prepare you for college. A college preparatory curriculum may be different from our state's graduation requirements. Click here for public school graduation requirements for students graduating in 2013 or later. If you attend a private school, check with your school counselor for graduation requirements. Click here for for public school graduation requirements for students graduating in 2011 or 2012. Click here for public school graduation requirements for students graduating in 2013 or later. If you attend a private school, check with your school counselor for graduation requirements.
Helpful electives to take in high school that prepare you for this occupation include:
The courses listed above are meant to help you create your high school plan. If you have not already done so, talk to a school counselor or parent about the courses you are considering taking.
You should also check with a teacher or counselor to see if work-based learning opportunities are available in your school and community. These might include field trips, job shadowing, internships, and actual work experience. The goal of these activities is to help you connect your school experiences with real-life work.
Join some groups, try some hobbies, or volunteer with an organization that interests you. By participating in activities you can have fun, make new friends, and learn about yourself. Maybe one of them will help direct you to a future career. Click here for examples of activities and groups that may be available in your high school or community.
Education after high school
There are a variety of ways to train for this occupation. Most students prepare for this field by earning a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering or business. Because this job combines both technical and planning skills, taking courses outside your major to round out your training is important. This means that if you major in engineering, you should also consider a minor in business. Earning a bachelor’s degree in engineering and then a master of business administration (MBA) is great training for this occupation.
Consider participating in an internship with a wind power engineering firm while you are in college. An internship offers you a chance to apply what you have learned in the classroom to a work situation. It also allows you to build skills and make contacts with people in the field.
Employers look for candidates with at least a bachelor’s degree and several years of experience working in the wind energy field.
Operations managers typically have several years experience in the wind energy field, so they do not receive much formal training once hired.
Related Educational Programs
Additional Sources of Information
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