Jeff Holbrook is Facility Manager at Spring Valley Wind Farm in Ely, Nevada. He’s been with Pattern since 2013, but he’s been in renewables since 1986 and calls himself “the Methuselah of wind.” He built turbines in early days, which he likened to science projects when compared to today’s behemoths. The early days were a time when safety regulations were nil and cutoff jean shorts and shirtless technicians on turbines were common. Jeff marvels at the continual technological improvements and safety systems that have been put in place. For example, years ago, a lightning strike might catch a blade on fire. Now, not only are turbines designed to handle strikes, but drones are deployed to survey for potential damage. The focus on safety goes beyond people. “Patter really dedicates themselves to doing the right thing as far as animals and wilderness,” Jeff said, noting the site’s active involvement in protecting the local wildlife. They also take special precautions regarding the Mexican free-tailed bats and the native golden eagle, often shutting down turbines if the animals are flying through.
His time in wind has taken him around the world and back. He takes pride in doing the right thing environmentally and sees the same values reflected in Pattern. “Everyone is top notch in their field with a lot of letters behind their names,” he said. “It’s something special to be a part of an organization that has a reputation in the industry for doing the right thing.” Also top notch is Pattern’s safety culture. “When we started we were renegades,” he said. “Now the mantra is ‘safety safety safety.’ It’s nice to know they’re looking out for you.” Jeff recommends the renewables industry for anyone who likes a good challenge, and in the case of turbine repair, enjoys climbing towers. “There’s camaraderie. That’s why people stay in it for generations.”