This is another installment of my series of interviews I have conducted with people who have made a career transition to the clean/green sector. In my last interview, spotlighted Nicholas Mack, General Counsel for Mainstream Energy Corporation, REC Solar, Inc., and AEE Solar, Inc. I talked to Nicholas about his transition from doing legal work in software and hardware industries to doing legal work in the solar arena. This week we are presenting my interview with Roxanne (Roxy) Podlogar, who is Senior Vice President, Strategy & Business Development Smart Energy for Magpie, a software consulting firm with a focus on Smart Energy & Smart Grid markets.
Name & Title: Roxanne (Roxy) Podlogar, SVP Strategy & Business Development Smart Energy
Q: In what industry sector were you working before you made the transition?
A: Software development for network systems, most notably, enabling broadband products and VoIP products. The role was as a senior director at Qwest Communications and involved leading large development efforts to roll out new products with cutting edge technology.
Q: What industry sector are you in now?
A: Business Development & Strategy for a software consulting firm with a focus on Smart Energy & Smart Grid markets.
Q: What were the circumstances for your transition?
A: Reworked my skills – Moving from the software engineering organization into marketing and sales enabled me to leverage my knowledge of software and networks into the business development and strategy areas within Smart Grid. With a 20-year history of working on new technologies, I was able to instinctively understand the implication of smart grid technology on the IT and Data Network components of Smart Grid and build a market strategy for our firm, Magpie. Further, Magpie as a whole, has a foundation in the network development market since the founders of the firm were originally from Bell Labs – part of our strategy is to focus this network experience into Smart Grid.
Q: What was your path to success?
A: My position is business development & strategy. I was hired into Magpie through a previous business relationship with the CEO and it was after I was here through the strategy development process that Smart Grid or Smart Energy was identified as a market we want to go after – based on market trends and stimulus funding.
I’ve also leveraged my circle of influence – those people in my professional network who are ahead of the curve having already completed their transition into Smart Energy and are willing to influence on my behalf.
Anyone who wants to enter a new field, such as Smart Grid, needs to be a self-starter and teach themselves the domain in order to increase their personal value to a potential employer.
Q: Are you receiving less, equal, or more compensation than your prior position?
A: Since I am in sales, I receive less base but equivalent in compensation if sales are closed.
Q: What, if any, certifications, training, degrees do you have that have helped you in your obtaining a position in the clean sector?
A: Nothing specifically related to clean tech – but applying my knowledge of business processes, systems architectures and network architectures has helped me research the topic independently to initially become conversant in the domain and ultimately a subject matter expert.
Q: What, if anything, was a hindrance?
A: Initially, recognizing the market as an opportunity and subsequently realizing it required full-time attention was a challenge. We quickly assessed the situation and within a matter of months, the CEO dedicated resources to it and made it my singular focus.
Q: Other thoughts that might be helpful to someone seeking to make the transition?
A: Many of my colleagues have taken a cut in pay or are working for free to earn a place in the sector. Volunteering in industry organizations and being meaningfully involved in energy associations is a good place to start. Think about which companies supply services or products to the smart energy market and help them prepare their products and services for the demand. Research the company, compare their strategy to the market, and build a proposed solution to demonstrate your value.
Biography: Roxanna (Roxy) Podlogar
SVP Smart Energy Practice – Strategy & Business Development
Roxy Podlogar is the SVP of Strategy and Business Development – Smart Energy, for Magpie, a specialty software services company in Denver, Co. With over 20 years of technology experience, Roxy has focused her career on leading initiatives associated with technological innovations in the telecom network domain. Her role in Magpie’s Smart Energy Practice is to define corporate strategy, develop relevant alliances, and identify target markets that can leverage Magpie’s skill set to produce Smart Grid components.
Prior to joining Magpie, Roxy developed and implemented the go-to-market strategy for a Quality Assurance service organization which targeted Interactive Entertainment and Application Security markets. In the telecommunications industry, she led teams which developed the underlying systems to support innovations in VoiP and broadband products.
Since joining Magpie, Roxy has developed a Smart Energy strategy based on the team’s success as a service provider in the Home Area Network (HAN) segment and developed the go-to-market plan to offering related services into other components of the Smart Grid value chain. Magpie is also represented through Roxy in the Colorado CleanTech Industry Alliance (CCIA).
She holds eight team patents (formerly known as Storaasli) for her VDSL work at Qwest and has a Masters of Technology Management degree from the University of Denver and an undergraduate degree in Business from Western Washington University.
Recommended Green Career Resources:
SIX STRATEGIES TO FIND YOUR GREEN CAREER – This free ebook by Carol McClelland PhD is a step-by-step process helping green career seekers use their passions, interests, experience, and training to plug into the green economy.
THE COMPLETE GREEN JOB GUIDE 2009: SECRETS FOR GETTING THE JOB YOUR WANT – Discover How To Unlock The Booming Green Economy For Your Job Search And Future Financial Security with the 10 Breakthrough Steps You Need To Know To Find And Land A Green Job Quickly.
CLEANTECHIES RESUME AND COVER LETTER WRITING SERVICE – Cleantechies help job seekers ease the transition from mainstream to Cleantech. Learn More!
© 2009, Jennifer_Massie. All rights reserved. Do not republish.