By Shweta Reddy
As the green industry continues showing tremendous growth, so have the green collar jobs that have arisen within the past few years. Among the newest green collar jobs belongs to a new sector – engineers working on electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.
An average day for Mike Meall, Electric Vehicle Charging Station Engineer at SemaConnect, consists of field maintenance, cleaning up the ChargePro machines, software updates and maintaining the NRTL , the National Recognized Testing Laboratories, which tests the charging stations and evaluates if they are safe for customer use.
When asked if he ever saw himself becoming an engineer for Electric Vehicle Charging stations his reply was, “Not at all.”
Meall, who is from Alabama and likes big trucks and fast cars, never thought of working in a company that makes charging stations for electric vehicles. In college he majored in Electrical Engineering, and in his junior year he joined the Navy. During his time in the Navy he worked in avionics and planes such as the EA-6B Prowlers.
When he was younger, Meall and his father would often work on many science projects together. “It seemed almost natural for me to start a career in electrical engineering,” says Meall. After his tenure in the Navy, Meall sought for an electrical engineering position. Later in the year, he received an offer from SemaConnect. At the time, SemaConnect was a burgeoning EV charging stations and software start-up in a technology incubator and not in the typical Silicone Valley setting – instead in Annapolis, MD.
“It’s not as simple as I thought it would be,” says Meall. The relentless synergy at startups left Meall with days when he would tenaciously work to assemble products on his own. His work ethic, drive and determination resulted in him pulling in increasingly long hours in order to learn and deploy stations simultaneously.
There are also a number of complications with trying to push out a new product in a brand new industry that can prove to be problematic overall. He praises Vince Kayser, Systems Engineer, and Joe Engel, Chief Technical Advisor , for showing him the ropes during his first few months at SemaConnect.
His motivation comes from working towards accomplishing his goals and seeing more stations on our roads across the country. “I’ll be able to look back when there are charging stations everywhere and know that I contributed, that I played a part in building that,” says Meall.
What Meall enjoys about engineering in general is the trouble shooting aspect, being handed a problem and then working together to fix it. “As a Navy veteran, I believe it was a good transition from the Navy into my position at SemaConnect,” Meall says. He talks about his experience with charging stations being a combination of challenging and rewarding.
He said that the most satisfying part of his job was, “working with like-minded people who have the same goals as the company and society and my goal is to see the company grow.”
Some basic concepts for those who are interested in being an electric vehicle charging station engineer are a good background on power sources, engineering, circuitry, critical thinking skills, thinking outside the box and electronic trouble shooting skills.
Meall is a refreshing reminder of the blossoming green industry and the new jobs that are popping up across the nation.
Shweta Reddy is the summer Marketing Intern at SemaConnect. She is a rising Senior in high school and is excited about college and working in the green industry.