Employee Spotlight: Jason Minock, Senior Developer, Renewables

Jason Minock is a Senior Developer working with Atwell’s Renewables teams. Though he’s only held this title for three years, Atwell has been an influential presence throughout his 25-year career. In this Q&A, he shares his career journey, when to walk away from a role, forming meaningful relationships in unlikely places, and the importance of standing firm in your ethics and values.  

Can you describe what you do as a Senior Developer?

I oversee program management for one of Atwell’s largest energy clients. I make sure the client has a designated point of contact to ensure that their questions, concerns, and requests are attended to in a timely manner. I also manage any cross integration that may happen if wind and solar projects overlap geographically. Overall, I’m making sure that our team is hitting our deadlines and that the client’s needs are met.

How long have you been with Atwell?

In this role, just over three years—but actually, my first experience with Atwell was as an intern in grad school. At the time there was an office in Brighton, Michigan that was led by Brian Wenzel [current CEO of Atwell] and included other leaders such as Bill Anderson [current Vice President].

After grad school I worked for a national home builder company for about 16 years, and I once again crossed paths with Atwell as a client. We hired Atwell to do our civil engineering work, and I made even more connections and built more relationships through that experience. The fact that people knew me, my work, and my capabilities played a part in me having the role I have now.

Can you give us more details on your career path?

I went to a small liberal arts college where I got my undergraduate degree in political science. After college, I moved to Alaska and worked for the state government for a few years doing public guardianship work. I then went to graduate school at the University of Michigan and got my Masters of Urban Planning. After my land planning internship with Atwell, I was a Project Manager for a small realty group here in Michigan before going to the national home builder company, where I started as a PM and eventually became the Vice President of the Michigan division. Then I spent about two years as the Vice President of Operation and Development at a local, Michigan-based home builder before joining Atwell in 2021.

What a journey! You have a lot of land planning experience. What attracted you to renewable energy and environmental work?

It was definitely a career shift, but it’s really interesting work. Bill Anderson, who I’ve kept in touch with since I was an intern, let me know about this opportunity and felt I’d be a great fit. I didn’t know much about those markets when I first started—I knew about as much as the average American knows, but it wasn’t my specialty. But Bill was confident that I would catch on, and well, he was right. A lot of my experiences in residential construction and homebuilding transfers to what I’m doing now: helping get projects approved and developed, managing teams, and understanding the client-firm relationship.

What are your thoughts on the renewables market and where it’s headed in the future?

I believe there’s an upward trajectory in the renewables industry. That’s another factor that attracted me to this role. Over the next 10 years, no matter who is in office or what is happening politically, renewable energy is going to be fixture in our lives. So I think we are in a great position as a company to make moves in this market and really grow our renewable energy program.

Have there been any challenging moments in your career? How did you overcome them?

Yes. One of my first jobs out of grad school was working for someone who turned out to be really unethical. It was an eye-opening experience for me that forced me to think about my own ethics and values. And I value doing the right thing, working hard, and being honest.

The most ironic part about this is that I could have been working at Atwell that whole time—I was offered a job at Atwell after my internship, and I turned it down for this other company that ended up being totally unethical! Talk about a big “whoops!” It all worked out in the end though.

What are some other values that have carried you through your career?

Something I always tell my kids is, “You don’t have to be the smartest person in the room, but working hard can make all the difference in the world.” There are other ways to differentiate yourself besides being the smartest person in the room. Your level of commitment, the way you treat others, being a good person—these things get noticed, too, and can be just as effective in advancing your career.

What impact has mentorship had on your career?

I’ve learned that mentors come in all forms; you might be surprised who ends up being a mentor to you. At a previous job, a guy who used to work for me actually became my mentor. He was older than me, and he had a really interesting approach to work and how to handle yourself in the workplace. He gave me tons of great advice, and I still text him all the time. I had a coach in college who mentored me more on life than work. His mantra was, “It’s a great day to be alive.” He was just a really good person and helped me see life in a different way. But my father was definitely my first mentor; he showed me the value of hard work.

Here at Atwell, Tim Jones [Development Manager on the Renewables team] graciously taught me all kinds of things about renewables and helped me adjust to the consulting side of the business. Tracey Dubuque [Vice President] has also been really helpful—I can throw any question at her and she always helps me out.

As far as mentoring others, I didn’t think I was that good at it because I never considered myself a good teacher or trainer. But I’m finding that people don’t always need technical training from a mentor; sometimes it’s just career advice or life advice, and taking the time to discuss those things with them.

What have you enjoyed the most during your time at Atwell?

The culture. I’ve worked for a Fortune 500 company, and while the work was fun, there was a lot of negativity, micromanagement, and fear about making mistakes. I feel like Atwell is a “work hard, play hard” kind of place. When it comes to my team, we all trust each other to do our best and do great work. We get along really well and work well together, which isn’t always easy with a remote team.

What are your future career goals?

I’d love to work on more large programs like I’m doing now, and with a variety of clients. I get to do a little bit of everything with our current client—a bit of environmental work, land work, survey work, and more. I think we’re setting ourselves up for opportunities to duplicate this kind of work with other clients in the future, even if it’s on a smaller scale. I’m looking forward to the unlimited growth of the renewables industry and being able to help a variety of clients in various locations with their own unique needs.

Culture/Our People, Power & Energy
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