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Creating Capstones in Environmental Policy Management

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LS100: Interview Project September 3, 2015 Samantha M. McAllister Professor, Jeffrey Gulley Unit # 8.

INTERVIEW PROJECT Legal Studies Professional Interview

I have chosen to Interview Jim Cassida, the Senior Environmental Manager of SunEdison a solar wind and energy, company based out of Portland Maine. My Interviewee has a Bachelor’s degree in Botany and a Master’s in Public Policy. Jim has been with the company, SunEdison for many years. Jim is familiar with most aspects affiliated with SunEdison and its developer companies. Jim knows a lot about electrical engineering vs. solar wind as energy. I have had the opportunity to speak with Jim Cassida and Interview him with the questions listed. I have been provided the answers as follows, in relation to Jim’s employment with SunEdison and what the company affiliated goals are.

1. The educational requirements for a position at SunEdison vary, because at SunEdison there are many different department functions. SunEdison is a developer of renewable energy. Educational requirements need to meet a basic education of Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in public policy management and/or electrical engineering and Law. An educational requirement would be law related, in a sense that SunEdison hires Attorneys that the company works directly with. SunEdison must be knowledgeable with, State, Federal and local legal regulations. The company also hires many engineers, construction, civil engineers and electrical engineers.
2. A typical day on the job in Jim Cassidas position, would be always seeing new projects under way. Construction, projects being completed ahead of schedule, overseeing construction operations. Observing projects being developed and built on a regular basis.
3. In relation to ethical problems that Jim may have encountered and how if any he was able to resolve these. Jim Cassida, holds steadfast that using best judgement that comes near close if not exactly aligned with following State. Federal and Local code enforcement. From a protection standpoint, Jim goes on to explain that there is no precise ethical black and white with the projects underway at SunEdison. If there are ethical questions that need to be answered, Jim further explains that these questions are more than likely directed to the source Attorney’s advice. The Attorney’s make sure that all rules and regulations are being abided by, when a decision involving ethics needs to be made. Rules at times over ride ethics and this is also where best judgement practices come into focus.
4. In relation to the best and worst aspects of the job. Jim states that everyday working for the company can be different. There can be multiple projects in different parts of the Country like Utah and N. Dakota, happening simultaneously. There is never a dull moment. That if any the most challenging part of this is always needing to build new relationships, communicating with new people. Jim mentioned that this can be challenging at times.
5. The types of legal positions that are available while working in this company consist of Staff Attorney’s. SunEdison works on many contracts like lease agreements, land owner agreements, land purchases, public utilities commission board of environmental protections hearings. At times SunEdison needs to hire outside counsel and subject matter experts, from different State territories, who are knowledgeable of their specific State Laws, Rules and Regulatory Standards.
6. The type of decision making responsibilities that are involved within the public policy aspect of Jim Cassidas position at SunEdison. Jim goes on to explain that he is not bound by any decisions, the public regulators make the decisions. The army core of engineers, Fish and Wildlife Association, has a lot of say in processes at SunEdison. There is a team approach that is implemented within SunEdison. There is no one person making major company based decisions. SunEdison possesses a team approach
7. I asked Jim Cassida, how he would handle a situation where his supervisor and he disagreed about an issue and course of action. Jim provides that he has a good relationship with his Supervisor. That they have good communication skills with one another. That if it boiled down to the possibility of him and his supervisor not seeing, eye to eye. The Supervisor would initially make the final decision. That an open relationship with a Supervisor helps staff make positive implied decisions for the Company overall.

8. If Jim had to handle any situation or case that he was morally opposed to, the way that he would reconcile his beliefs would be to A. Make his beliefs known. B. Allow his supervisor to have the final say in any subject matter that directly affected the company but that Jim’s moral opinion would not pose a draw back for the company, SunEdison.
9. Jim Cassida, describes his work atmosphere as wonderful, he is very happy with his employment. He gets to travel a lot and there is much team work within the company that allows them to pull it together and have the support of one another in various department standing.
10. The expectations of a person hired by SunEdison, would to be capable of keeping up with the fast moving company. Most of the people hired by SunEdison has various skills and education in specific field departments. Knowledge of the Companies functions is a must, prior experience, knowledge and training. There is a work history review. The field does provide resources when needed to work shops, further training if needed and advocacy.
11. Areas of specialty at SunEdison are Electrical & Civil Engineers, System Computer Operations, and Legal department, Developers, Construction and Building Operations. There are environmental training conferences as well.
12. SunEdison does not provide any form of training however the company does suggest to employees where they can seek additional training if a specific job at the company requires such further training.
13. The kinds of legal setbacks the company SunEdison has experienced in advocating for renewable energy in Maine and other States that the company employees developers. It can be difficult for SunEdison. The company has to research a lot work their way through challenges, exhaust appeals to the Supreme Court if necessary. Even still such appeals up to the “Maine Law Court” may not always allow approval of certain projects.
14. How efficient is clean renewable energy for people? Clean renewable energy is a part of the future. Great strides are being made to bring the costs down to store energy wind/solar. Currently wind and solar energy only produces energy during daylight hours. SunEdison and her partner company “First Wind” has recently found new technologies to incorporate into the use of storing such energy. Clean renewable energy is very efficient and cost friendly for the general public and consumers.
15. Major legal aspects for SunEdison and First Wind, are not being capable of gaining approval for every project. There are differing State Rules and regulations in other places that pose challenges to SunEdison in expansion of renewable energy. The company needs to work on navigating and setting up better working relationships with developers. Be on the same page with State, Federal and Local Code Rules and Regulations per any given State project.

16. SunEdison recently purchased in March 2015 “First Wind.” Originally First Wind was primarily wind power. Since merging with SunEdison the company involves solar and wind power in order to develop new technologies. Environmental Policies is a great career to be involved with. In the next 40-50 years, new technology in this growing field will be expanding, with positive outcomes for the future of Society and the eco-system with room for advancements. I. State Activity
2. Maine Public law no. 2014, Chapter 562, establishing State goals for investing in solar power, became effective on April 24th 2014. The act directs the Maine Public Utilities Commission to determine the value of solar energy generation and monitor the level of solar energy development in the State. Basic trends in solar energy markets, and the likely relation costs and benefits for rate payers, from solar energy development.
Reference:
Report of the Renewable Energy Committee (2015) Energy Law Journal, 36 (1), 1-32

Respectfully submitted, Samantha M. McAllister samanthamcallist1@student.kaplan.edu

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