Last year, EDPR NA launched the "Make an Impact" program for employees who were interested in developing project management skills or for current project managers who see areas needing improvement within the company.
Specifically, the "Make an Impact" program (which is an ongoing initiative) gives employees the opportunity to propose a budget, team, and timeline for a project to the EDPR NA Executive Team. Approved projects receive budget support, a small award, and visibility at the executive level.
One of the projects that was approved last year was the "EDP Reach" initiative proposed by Performance Analysis Manger Jaimeet Gulati.
The "EDP Reach" initiative set out to teach nine students (grades 11 and 12) about wind energy. These high school juniors and seniors are highly motivated, high performers in school, and have an average GPA of more than 3.5 ("A" and "B" average). These students were selected to be part of this initiative as a project for the National Science Honor Society that they are all members of.
When asked for a broad overview of the initiative, Gulati stated that as the United States seeks to fuel future workforce in the crucial areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), it is critical to apply the necessary focus and resources to the population [early secondary students] who can produce the greatest results.
"Nearly 28% of high school freshmen declare interest in a STEM-related field which is around 1 million students each year," Gulati said. "Of these students, more than 57% will lose interest in STEM by the time they graduate from high school."
EDPR NA extensively relies upon such forward-thinking and motivated citizens to grow and provide to our community. With EDPR being the biggest renewables company headquartered in Houston, the responsibility relies upon us to reach out, encourage, and educate students in our local high schools and universities about the marvel with which current technology can extract energy from natural resources such as wind and solar.
In addition to Gulati, Technical Specialist Maya Nissim and Corporate Development Associate Chris Goldsberry have coordinated and worked with the students on a regular weekly basis.
Technical Support Analyst Mithun Vyas, Wind Assessment Senior Manager Bruno Martinho, Major Component Reliability Engineer Adam Johs, and Performance Analysis Associate Ben Rice educated the students on the subjects of electricity and generators, energy assessment, gearboxes and monitoring, and data analysis, respectively. Additionally, Gulati gave an introduction to wind turbines to the students, and Goldsberry and Nissim presented on environment and sustainability and blade aerodynamics, respectively.
After several weeks of wind energy education on a variety of subjects, the nine students visited the EDPR NA Corporate Headquarters in Houston and gave a short presentation to a group of 25 EDPR employees on what they learned. The students also had an opportunity to tour the office and visit with employees.
Now that the formal education portion of the initiative is complete, Gulati, Goldsberry, and Nissim are helping the students complete a research project that brings together all of the renewable energy concepts and knowledge they have acquired over the past few months.
The end goal of this initiative is to have these students ready to compete at the I-SWEEEP 2014 Science Olympiad in Houston. I-SWEEEP stands for International Sustainable World in Energy, Engineering, and Environment and is one of the biggest international science Olympiads where students from more than 65 different countries and 43 U.S. states participate in after having their projects qualified through regional and international science fairs. EDPR NA has partnered with the I-SWEEEP organizers to create a unique opportunity for these bright students to participate and compete in the 2014 Olympiad with their research project backed by EDPR.