Lauren Waldrip | Arkansas Advanced Energy Association | Executive Director
Career Evolution…I previously had a public affairs and public relations firm representing primarily agriculturally related clients. As more and more farmers began to implement solar power into their operation, I came to learn how the option to produce renewable energy can have a significant positive economic impact to Arkansans. Farmers absorb a considerable amount of risk each year in order to grow a safe and quality food supply. I saw first-hand that incorporating solar could reduce the number of unpredictable variables our producers have to consider while positively impacting their bottom line. This exposure made my move to AAEA a natural progression.
Love the Work…Our members offer goods and services that I believe add true value in the lives of Arkansans. I get to act as a liaison between these members and the lawmakers and regulators who put laws in place and promulgate rules that allow Arkansans to benefit from these goods and services. I get to tell success stories from the implementation of these technologies that help Arkansas individuals and businesses save money by providing another option or tool for their toolbox. Our policy makers have made it very clear that Arkansas will be a competitive place to do business in this space. Our laws coupled with our natural resources are a few reasons our state continues to attract more and more companies to conduct operations here. I am proud to see Arkansas lead the conversation in this industry.
Surprising But True…Particularly with new markets and developing technologies, now is an opportunity to bring on younger individuals who can be on the ground floor in learning that technology, as compared to institutional knowledge. Companies are gradually making a concerted effort to employ a diverse workforce. This movement is making way for an innovative, collaborative mindset and leaders at these institutions will see the value and opportunity diversity brings.
Day at Work…The advanced energy industry is evolving constantly with every day presenting new opportunities and challenges. These developments could prompt industry engagement activities including outreach to legislators and regulators, entertaining media requests on industry issues, corresponding with membership to garner feedback or provide relevant updates, communicating and educating the general public to raise awareness, cultivate workforce development programs and much more. At the end of day, our efforts are ultimately meant to encourage long-term, stable policies the enable the continued adoption of these technologies while raising awareness about their benefits including cost savings, economic impact and increased consumer choices.
These wonder women are redefining what “full STEAM ahead” means in Arkansas. With exciting careers in science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics – each reflects WIT (Women in Tech) and true grit for making the most of every opportunity. Here’s to the powHER of knowledge.
Photography by Katie Childs