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SEI Alumni Highlight - Azuriel Mayo

Posted by: chris
November 20, 2012

SEI's Alumni highlight for the month of November goes to Azuriel Mayo.   We had the opportunity to catch up with Azuriel to see how he is doing.  

"I have had the blessings of being raised by a family that has a strong sense of interest in our impact as humans on this planet. My father was into recycling long before it was vogue and he was acutely aware of the waste that we humans generate. During the first oil crisis of 1972, he found ways to recycle large plastic bags at the food cannery where he worked. Later, he designed a house that had a wonderful deck that was protected from winter winds and had winter sunshine and summer shade due to the eave overhang.

I took that interest to the marine environment where I first started working on tugs then moved to oil spill recovery vessels, and finally, to whale and wildlife viewing vessels. It was during that time, while living on Orcas Island, that I met Eric Youngren who was a fellow captain who then moved into the solar industry.

When I had the opportunity to have a house built for me, I asked Eric to advise me on solar panels for the roof. At that time, 2004, solar panels were very expensive, so Eric recommended solar hot water heating. I discussed the project with the plumber and he was helpful and excited about the prospect. He got a special on-demand propane hot water heater that had the ability to sense the temperature of the incoming water and ran extra pipes into the attic for the closed loop solar heating. All I needed was the panels for the roof and an old hot water tank for the heat exchanger and to serve as a storage tank. Unfortunately, many other things took priority over that project, but the new owner was pleased to know that I had gone that far with the system.

My life changed considerably when I married a long-time friend of mine. Oceana was a nurse working and living in Bellingham and she quit her job to move in with me and my youngest son. We had quite a combined household, with both of our dogs and two cats!

After a year of living on the island, Oceana suggested that we move back to Bellingham, rent a large house, and move her elderly parents in with us. I had lived in Bellingham previously and knew that maritime jobs were more challenging to find, so I began to think about a new career and solar came up. I tried to talk to every company in town and connected with Western Solar. 

Things were slow with the solar companies, so I worked in other jobs, including marine retail and a fire and security company, while still keeping in contact with Western Solar. Both the project manager and my wife suggested that I get some training in the field, so earlier this year; I talked to the WorkForce coordinator about going to SEI for training for a Solar Business and Technical Sales Certificate. We discussed the school and the training and he agreed to finance the project.

I started with PVOL 101 and then traveled to Paonia, Colorado to attend PV201L. The first course dovetailed with my own studies and brought it into clearer focus. The lab in Paonia gave me a very good hands-on feel for the equipment, plus the opportunity to interact with a great group of similarly-minded people. I enjoyed the instructors, classmates, and administrators.

When I finished my class in Paonia, I talked to the project manager and he said he would discuss the possibilities of hiring me with his supervisor. This summer, we had a meeting and a week later, they hired me for a job as a salesman. Since then, I have been immersed in all of the subjects that my last class, PVOL 206, discusses. It has been an exciting and challenging time, and I love every minute of it!!!

Just recently, my supervisor, Josh, mentioned that people come by all of the time asking for work and handing out resumes. With everyone, he suggests getting some training in the solar field and I am the only one who actually has done it! I feel honored and blessed to work for a great group of people here in Washington. I also am very impressed with SEI's staff, instructors, training programs and the people that they are working with.

Thanks to each and every one of you for we are making a difference in this world!!"

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