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Home » A Day In The Life » Holly Hughes, Senior Vice President, Natural Power North America

Holly Hughes, Senior Vice President, Natural Power North America

January 25, 2016


What does your day typically consist of?
Being in the Pacific time zone, the days tend to start with an invigorating flurry of communication, and then calms down nicely in the afternoon, when I have more focused time. Whether it’s regarding management or providing technical guidance to existing or prospective clients, I’m continually evaluating and deciding where my time can have the most impact. Each day includes some client dialogue and ensuring quality delivery.

What do you enjoy most about your role?
I enjoy contributing in a meaningful way to the development of people and organizations, and being a driving force that facilitates achievements in the renewables industry, be it for clients or staff or the industry as a whole.

I also really enjoy the team and atmosphere at Natural Power – while everyone’s serious about their work, there’s a healthy and refreshing thread of humor woven into each workday.

How did you get into the role in the first place?
My experiences working abroad align well with the international reach of Natural Power, and my work in the US wind industry in turbine technology, energy yield assessment, due diligence, offshore and asset management provide a solid foundation to draw on for various consultancy services. I was particularly drawn to the asset management aspect of Natural Power, which is unique among renewables consultancies.

Going back to my roots, I have always had a passion for the environment, and I was driven to get a degree that would justify the cost (I’m thrifty!). When I looked for ways to apply my engineering background toward a better planet, I landed in renewables.

What is your degree and /or professional qualification?
I have a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering and am a registered Professional Engineer. I also have a Graduate Certificate in Energy Analysis and Policy.

What is the most interesting type of work you have done and why?
Transforming from the detailed work of energy production assessment and evaluation of site suitability and theoretical lifetime into more pragmatic operational project evaluations, bench-marking and end-of-warranty inspections has been the most interesting type of work I’ve done. Knowing how site characteristics theoretically impact individual components, and seeing how that translates (or doesn’t) into failure rates and wear patterns has been both satisfyingly and interesting.

What is your biggest achievement at work?
In a short time frame, I guided a major validation study update to illustrate our pre-construction energy yield capabilities, set up and staffed a new office, and gained wide acceptance of our practices while simultaneously delivering energy, due diligence and asset management services to clients in a high-quality and consistent manner.

I wouldn’t say it’s my biggest achievement, but also I covered a 45-minute presentation for a colleague with a cancelled flight on a few hours’ notice!

Any hidden talents?
I can navigate the local buses in Peru. I can also safely travel across glaciers on a rope team and know how to perform crevasse rescue.

What is your favourite hobby?
At one time I owned a motorcycle but now I focus on being outdoors as much as possible in a variety of non-motorized activities!

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