Ryan_GaleriaRyan Galeria

Occupation: Director, Project Management
Company: sPower
Location: Salt Lake City

Ryan has worked in solar for five years, first as a permitting manager at Silverado Power, which later merged with sPower. He now oversees the project management team and manages his own specialty projects.

“I got into the energy field working as a geologist for a company that had contracts with several major oil and gas producers. Our job was to clean up the environmental impacts of oil facilities and restore the land for future development. I worked with state, federal, and local regulators and gained expertise on how the regulatory process works. My experience cleaning up oilfields has proven very valuable to the work I do in solar.”

“As a project manager a lot of my job is education, talking through what a solar facility looks like, how it works, and helping communities develop their own guidelines and best practices on how to develop these systems in the best manner possible. One of our big initiatives here is identifying land that’s underutilized. So the ideal place for me to develop a solar project is on abandoned farmland ¾ taking something that’s barren from a biological standpoint and then reusing it in an appropriate way. And that’s important to me because even though we tout the environmental benefits of solar, if you don’t develop these projects in a responsible manner, there can be unforeseen consequences.”

“The project managers on our staff include a couple of civil engineers, a geologist, someone with a degree in environmental studies, and a person with background in archaeology. By far the most valuable job candidates to me are people who have worked on any sort of development project in the past, whether it be electrical or oil and gas infrastructure, or it could be development of commercial or residential buildings. Since the industry is fairly new, we often find ourselves in situations where there’s no clear path forward. It takes a lot of creative problem solving, a lot of negotiation, and a lot of compromise.”