How did you get into energy?

I entered the energy industry in 1982 completely by accident and expecting it to be temporary.  After dropping out of college, I took a job at Wisconsin Power & Light as a temporary clerk performing data entry and secretarial work until I figured out what I should do about college.  At WP&L, I started taking on more responsibility, and eventually became a permanent employee which provided benefits, including tuition reimbursement.  A few years later while working full-time/going to school part-time, I graduated from the University of Wisconsin Madison with an undergraduate degree and had been promoted to a marketing analyst with responsibilities for conservation and demand-side management programs.  Even though it was by accident, it was not temporary at all -- I fell in love with the work and industry and found many opportunities to advance my career.

What is your favorite thing about the industry?

Part of the reason why I never left the energy industry is due to how dynamic and ever-changing the industry is.  Whether it's a new technology, transformational regulatory reforms, or changes in consumer needs, the energy industry continuously morphs.  This results in constant and lifelong learning opportunities. Yes, some things remain the same and yes, some ideas and trends recycle -- but the industry, the people, and policies are fascinating and evolving.

Any words of wisdom to share?

Embrace change -- personal and professional -- every risk has a reward, even if it is simply learning from taking the risk.

President, Swan Consulting Services

Advisory Board Member, AWE

Member Highlight: Kristine Schmidt