Sintia Torres: Project Manager, Sol Systems

When Sintia Torres was earning her college degree in mechanical engineering, a group of friends encouraged her to take a look at the solar industry, noting, “There are a lot of jobs available for you when you graduate.” After leaving her first job designing residential systems in California, she moved to Washington, D.C. and started work as a project manager at Sol Systems, a solar finance and development firm.

Sintia works on small commercial projects throughout the United States, including ground mounts, rooftop systems, and carports. She manages relationships with engineering, procurement, and construction firms to ensure project milestones are met. Her work requires ongoing communication with team members, as well as the use of her engineering skills.

“In my previous job as a design engineer I was by myself at a desk. Being out there talking to people, on the phone and in person — I really enjoy that,” she says. “At a certain point we all feel the pressure because occasionally there’s a big issue on site that comes up and we’re not sure how we’re going to meet certain deadlines. But again, that’s one of the fun things about the job. You have to be very patient, you have to be very understanding, and the most important thing is you have to be flexible.”

As a female engineer and as a Mexican American, Sintia knows firsthand the importance of making the solar industry more inclusive. “In engineering school, there were usually one or two other women in a class of 30 to 40 people. Moving on to the solar industry, I noticed the same thing: When I’m in meetings, it’s mostly white males and then me. There’s definitely a need for more women and minorities in the industry.” One thing that would help, she says, is for solar companies to reach out to schools and talk about the wide range of career opportunities available in solar. “That way women can say, and minorities can say, ‘hey, that’s something I can look into.'”