Josh Neale: Meet Our Team

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Q: What is your role on the True South Solar team?

I’m a lead installer and a Limited Renewable Energy Electrician. I’m in the field every day working with a great team of fellow installers to build solar electric systems. I build power walls, install batteries, run wire, bend conduit, install racking and solar panels, and provide on the job training, guidance and troubleshooting.

Q: What’s your favorite part of the job?

Two Favie’s. #1 is the people I work with every day. We work hard and have a great time doing it. I always have a smile on my face at this job. #2 is the just the nature of the work. I love having a physical job where I get to work outside and exercise while getting a paycheck. There’s plenty of heavy lifting, climbing up and down ladders with weights on (tool belt), attic yoga, etc.

Q: What’s the most important lesson you've learned since joining the team?

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is to work every day at a pace that I can maintain forever. This one lesson accomplishes quite a few things. First, it keeps me from getting burnt out at my job. Second, and closely related to the first, is it keeps me in good spirits. If I’m never getting close to burn out then I’m always fresh, in a good mood and enjoying my work. Third thing this does is it keeps me from making mistakes. Working at the right pace allows me time to think through my actions and make sure I’m doing work right the first time. And finally, If I’m thoughtful with my actions, I’m also much less likely to injure myself or those around me.

Q: When did you first start thinking about solar?

I was a student at Appalachian State University and I was studying Anthropology, which, let’s be honest, allows me to do what exactly? Teach Anthropology? Yep. (I like to hate but I actually loved it!). But anyway, late in my junior year I became aware of a new program called Appropriate Technology which had all sorts of cool courses dedicated to practical hands on education. My Anthropology major was flexible enough that I was able to take some of those courses like solar thermal and sustainable building, design and construction, and have them count towards my degree.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do in the sun?

So many things! I love rock climbing. It’s scary and addictive and gets you out into beautiful places and I love it! I also love mountain biking. I was an occasional rider before moving to Ashland but now, because of the quality and accessibility of the trails, I’m all in. My team sports side still loves to play soccer, which I do once or twice a week in the adult leagues around Ashland and Medford. Mt. Ashland has been teaching me to ski, not the instructors, I mean the mountain. And because I’m into so many things, it turns out that I’m actually not any good at any of them … Oh and also my wife and I have a new baby boy in our lives, so now, instead of doing stuff in the sun, we just gaze lovingly at him all day and then go to sleep...