Wind turbines
(Photo credit: Daxis / Flickr)

During his five years in the Marines, Jake Thompson served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Afterward, he expected to return to Texas and work in the oil fields like his dad, but his father suggested a different path.

“He really thought I should look into the wind industry,” Thompson says, “because the turbines were popping up all around my hometown.”

Texas leads the nation in wind energy production, so Thompson’s dad thought the industry would provide more opportunities and stability.

Thompson was skeptical at first: He’s afraid of heights. But he got a job as a technician and realized he could apply skills he’d learned while working on helicopters for the Marines.

“All the same principles apply,” he says. “You got your hydraulics, your electricity … It’s just working on a turbine, you’re 300 feet off the ground instead of working on a helicopter that’s on the ground.”

Now Thompson’s been working in wind for 13 years. He’s still not fond of heights, but he says it’s rewarding to get a downed turbine back online.

“I always took a lot of pride in doing my work and doing it correctly,” he says.

Today, Thompson works for Invenergy and was recently promoted to manager of the Stanton wind farm. So he’s glad he took his dad’s advice and tried a career in renewable energy.

“I love the job,” he says.

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Reporting credit: Stephanie Manuzak/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Topics: Jobs & Economy