Hopefully you’ve been able to take a moment to Meet our Wisconsin’s Operations Manager, Amanda. Because we’re now excited to let you get a glimpse at the Illinois Operations Team! Did we intentionally set it up for some Bears vs. Packers, statelines rivalry – you’ll never know. But one thing you’ll know for sure is that, no matter which state you’re working with Sun Badger in, our service is top-notch because of employees like Andrew.
Andrew Horn is the human behind our smooth-running operations team covering most of Northern Illinois. He came onto Sun Badger with loads of experience in both construction and solar, as well as a passion for doing better for both himself, through continuing education, and the environment with green energy solutions. Like we previously mentioned, you might not always be in contact with everyone in our Ops team, but we can guarantee that your seamless install process is due to managers like Andrew.
We’d love to hear a little about yourself.
Can you give us a little biographical background on yourself?
I come from a town of 350 people in Kankakee County called Bonfield and graduated from Herscher High School in 2003. After high school I start pursuing nursing at Kankakee Coummunity College. Realizing I wanted to make a pivot during this time I honed in on construction. I tested into the Ironworkers Union Local 444 out of Joliet, Illinois and started their apprenticeship program. I have built bridges, windmills, skyscrapers, and industrial warehouses for a decade as an Ironworker. I then decided to go back to school for engineering which is when I found solar and Sun Badger.
Any fun tidbits you’d like to share about yourself?
You’ll find me cheering for Chicago teams in general, but football is my favorite. I’m a die hard Bears fan. I love being outdoors where you can find me hiking, kayaking, gardening, biking, or playing basketball. I also love a good DIY project like building a deck or playing with off grid solar. Concerts, museums, shows, and events with friends are a favorite of mine, as well as playing strategy games like board games, cards, and video games.
Which came first for you: the Solar or the Badger?
I spent two years in Colorado growing my knowledge of solar by leaps and bounds at a mom-and-pop company. I also continued taking electrical and solar-specific classes from anywhere I could during this time. Within two years I was a project manager basically running all aspects of the project post-sales. I wanted to be closer to friends and family which led me back to Illinois to start my own solar design and consulting company. I was working with Colorado contacts and continued taking classes until that got to be too much for just myself. That’s when Sun Badger reached out to me and the growth continues.
What’s your favorite thing about the solar industry?
I always loved driving over a bridge, windmills, or buildings that I had built as an Ironworker and pointing them out to people. I liked the pride that went along with the construction projects I worked on, but I also wanted to do more with my mind and for the environment. Solar combines all these for me and keeps my interest in continued learning going. I like that there are constantly new technologies and methods emerging, it never feels stagnant.
Ok, let’s hear all about you + Sun Badger Solar.
Which branch or state do you work in for Sun Badger?
I work out of the Arlington Heights (soon to be Bensenville) branch in Illinois. We service from the Wisconsin border down to Kankakee County and from the Indiana border to the Rockford area. It’s a big section of Northern Illinois.
Tell us a little about your roles & responsibilities as Operations Manager? What is a “Day in the Life” like for you?
I oversee the day to day operations of the branch which includes everything post-sale. I typically start my day with assisting the installation and electrical managers organizing the crews’ installs for the day. I have meetings with design, permitting, and project management to discuss any project pathway questions. I’m monitoring our CRM consistently to ensure projects are progressing as they should and identifying roadblocks before they could happen. I’m responsible for organizing daily workflows by prioritizing projects and strategies to ensure the most efficient project movement, analyzing metrics to assess staffing needs, and working with installation and electrical managers to prep for projects. I also oversee the Solar Service Department, which includes helping to diagnose system issues and schedule service crews for repair.
At what stage of the solar journey does your team start working with customers?
My team starts working with customers as soon as the contract is signed and financials are settled. At this stage my team will reach out to customers to introduce ourselves and let them now what to expect at this stage of the project pathway. Most customers’ questions at this point will be about the layout of the solar modules on their roof and about project timelines, which my team can assist with. I personally don’t get much one-on-one contact with the customers unless there is a unique situation, but my team is the best of the best so I know everything is being handle to our high standards.
What unique challenges do you get to help customers work through?
We help customers work through all types of unique roof, ground, or electrical situations. We help people find the most cost effective, productive, and aesthetically pleasing system possible for their project site. Roof obstructions, roof structural integrity, ground obstructions for trenching and mounts, electrical work around or upgrades are just some of the situations that we encounter daily.
Name a project that has really stood out for you?
At Sun Badger I’ve really enjoyed the battery projects. We didn’t install a lot of Solar + Storage at my previous company and I always wanted to get into it more. We’ve now done more than a few “whole home backup” installs that always pose interesting challenges and all have turned out great.
Let’s dig into helping people going solar.
What would you say to others who want to go solar?
I would say, “What are you waiting for!?”. With all the federal incentives and technological advances happening now there is no time like the present. And get involved in the process! Just like anything else, making your wants known will help us work with you to ensure your project is exactly what you were hoping for.
If someone didn’t know where to start, where would you recommend?
I would recommend starting with Sun Badger. Our team is full of insight on the industry, the tech, our processes and more. So where ever you’d like to start we’ll be there to help. Reach out for a free consultation and let’s go from there!
Last, but not least.
On a perfect bluebird, sunny day off, what are you doing?
On a perfect sunny day I would prefer to be with family and friends outside somewhere with good food and drinks!