Story by Aaron Presberg, 2014-15 CivicSpark Alum, Los Angeles Region
It has been 9 months since the end of my service year with CivicSpark and I still can’t decide if that seems like a long time ago or if it seems like just yesterday. Either way, it’s hard to believe and so much has happened in those 9 months. About 3 weeks after I finished up with CivicSpark, I moved from LA to Portland, OR to continue to pursue my career in sustainability. Moving 1,000 miles away without a job definitely wasn’t the safest move, but I was confident and I was excited for a change (and some rain!). Fast forward 5 months, 60 job applications, and 10 interviews later, and I am still jobless (and blown away at the actual amount of rain in Oregon). My confidence and patience were definitely in check, but I learned that keeping that positive attitude really made a difference. During these months, I took full advantage of my free time – took up piano lessons, joined a band, volunteered at a homeless center, and even went on a 10 day solo road trip to Yellowstone National Park. Plus being in a new city helped quite a bit!
Finally the day came. In late March I got a call from Portland Public Schools with a job offer for their Energy Program Manager position that I had interviewed for earlier that month. As Energy Program Manager for the school district, I am responsible for implementing energy savings projects and monitoring utility usage across the district (90 schools & 9 million square feet). I have been working in this role for 2 months now, and while it has been challenging, I can already tell that it is a good fit for me and that I am going to enjoy my work.
I can say with 100% confidence that I would not have landed this job if it wasn’t for CivicSpark. The experience I gained through the program – networking, learning how to be a young professional, and various skills in sustainability and energy – have all been integral to my job so far. My journey since last September has definitely been eventful and it had it’s ups and downs, but I kept my head up and I worked hard because I knew that my experience from CivicSpark gave me the tools and confidence to land a job in the sustainability/energy industry and lo and behold…it worked!
Aaron is an environmental professional and musician. He is a graduate from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a BS in Social Sciences, minor in business, and a focus in environmental studies and sustainability. During the 2014-2015 service year, he worked at the Ventura Housing Authority on energy and water conservation projects. After CivicSpark, he moved north to Portland, OR, where he is now the Energy Program Manager at Portland Public Schools. In his free time, he likes to play music (drums, piano, and bass), and go biking and hiking.