Katrell Holmes Alumni Highlight

May 2016

katrellh_russellscrew_pcphl2_headshotsTell me a little about yourself.

My name is Katrell Holmes, I’m 24 years old. I like working hard, I like to shop, work out, and travel. I was born and raised in Philadelphia. I describe myself as smart, witty, over-confident, and athletic.

When were you in PowerCorpsPHL?

I was in Cohort 2 on Russell’s crew–the first Green Stormwater Infrastructure maintenance crew!

What are you up to now?

I’m a Solar Installer and Designer with Solar States.  I found the position through PowerCorpsPHL, I got the job and the next day I was on a roof–it was scary!  We do 2-3 installs a week.  They’re mostly residential, but we’ve had a few commercial jobs too.  If we have an install, we get up early (7am), the equipment is delivered to the customer’s location, we verify we have all the equipment, then we go on the roof to measure.  Only then are we ready to lay the solar panels.  The panels are hooked up to the power grid, it’s called net metering.  The energy from the solar panels are sent through the house first, and all excess energy is bought and sent back to the grid.
I like when we get to travel for work.  I’m about to go to Albany to do a big project, and I get to go to Massachusetts soon.  On office days, I work on designs, and do maintenance and troubleshooting for electrical issues.  Solar States started in 2008 and has 18 full time employees right now.  It’s a great work environment; we all joke a lot and just have fun doing our job.  We recently absorbed an electrical company so we’ve expanded our services.  If you need electrical wiring run through your house or are having trouble with a panel we’ll come and fix it!
When I first started at Solar States, I didn’t think I would be, but when I got up on that ladder I was scared being up so high.  I also was scared of working with electrical wiring–I thought it would shock me!  Solar States provided me with lots of training.  They taught me how to install a solar panel, gave basic electrical wiring training, tool instruction, OSHA 10 certification in construction, taught me how to do construction because we built our office.  I also go to the Community College of Philadelphia for Architectural Design.  I started in February of 2015 and used my AmeriCorps Education Award to pay for classes.  Some things that have changed since I got this job are I got my first apartment, I got my driver’s license, and I went on a plane for the first time!

What about in your free time?

I like to relax and sit at home with my girlfriend.  I like to play basketball, to work-out, and go running.  I’m just a family man, I babysit for my family.  I like to go on trips.

What motivates you?

I’m motivated by money, by not wanting to be broke again.  I don’t want to be who I used to be and how I used to be.  I don’t want to end up in jail again.  PowerCorpsPHL opened up my eyes to be responsible for the things I do and to make better decisions.

How did your time with PowerCorpsPHL impact you?

It put me on the whole Green Initiative.  I don’t even clean with chemical products anymore.  And I definitely don’t litter, especially after doing Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) maintenance which is a lot of picking up other people’s trash.  PowerCorpsPHL was my first step in door to the Green Initiative.
PowerCorpsPHL also taught me responsibility.  My crew leader, Russell, was a big influence.  He showed me different ways to make money legally, not on the street.

Now that you’re an alumni, what sort of involvement would you like to have with PowerCorpsPHL?

I would like to speak at Training Days about my experience with Solar States and what life is like after PowerCorpsPHL. I’d also like to utilize PowerCorpsPHL for opportunities and funding, especially for work and school materials. Right now I’m working with PowerCorpsPHL to get a laptop!

What do you miss about PowerCorpsPHL? What don’t you miss?

I miss the atmosphere between the teams, the friendly competition. I also miss Training Days.
I don’t miss cleaning GSI sites; I got tired of cleaning up trash.

What do you hope to do in the future?

I’d like to buy a house in the suburbs where it’s quiet; I’m tired of the commotion of Philly. I want to finish college and get more certifications, like NABCEP Solar Installer and become a certified Electrician.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Shout Out to Ms. Margy! To Russell, to Blue Magic! And to Paul Johnson–hit me up!
If you need Solar, contact me at katrell@solar-states.com.