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Military Veterans on a Mission for Clean Solar Energy

by | Nov 3, 2017 | 0 comments

November 11 marks a day of appreciation for the brave military veterans not only here in America, but those deployed overseas on active duty. Originally set as a U.S. holiday to honor the end of WWI – Nov. 11, 1918 – Veterans Day is now a day of recognition for those that have fought and those that are fighting for our freedom.

At Florida Power & Light Company, we’re honored to work alongside several military veterans on a mission to bring a clean energy future to you and your families.

As a former nuclear submarine officer in the U.S. Navy, I was focused on collaborating with my crew to be effective and seamless in our operations and missions. That sense of teamwork has stuck with me ever since, and I believe is a cornerstone for continued development and advancement in any company.

It’s no secret that well-trained individuals with skills obtained during military service make great employees. That’s why FPL and other NextEra Energy subsidiaries employ more than 2,000 veterans and support countless more through projects all over the U.S. In fact, we’ve partnered with Veterans Florida, Indian River State College and other veteran organizations to create a talent pipeline and provide opportunities to those transitioning back into civilian life.

Most recently, FPL has accelerated its development of solar energy across Florida and I’m honored to be a part of this expansion. Construction of our new solar power plants requires laborers with many different skillsets. The extensive training and experience seen in veterans make them ideal employees. That’s why we’ve made it a focus to attract and hire veterans to help build our new solar plants and provide for a cleaner future.

As a military veteran, it’s important to me to find ways to continue to serve and working with fellow veterans to bring solar energy to the sunshine state fulfills that mission.

Meet Our Veterans

We salute the men and woman who have served our country and I’m proud to introduce a few of our many military veterans leading one of the largest solar expansions in the southeastern U.S.

E4 Specialist Teresa Bravo, U.S. Army

Teresa’s love of her country influenced her decision to enroll shortly after high school. As an electrician at the FPL Barefoot Bay Solar Energy Center, she’s proud to have an opportunity to be a part of something that’s changing Florida’s future.

Petty Officer Third Class Joe Brazeale, U.S. Navy (Electrician’s Mate)

Working as a project field manager, Joe recognizes the similarities between the military and working to build solar energy in that teamwork is a critical component to any successful mission. When he returned home from Vietnam, he wasn’t sure what to expect during the transition to civilian life. But Joe found his calling and put his training and experience to use. He now leads a team of solar installers working to bring a cleaner energy future to all of us.

Corporal Luis Velez, U.S. Marine Corps

While on the streets of Chicago, a family friend returning home from boot camp wanted to do something nice for Luis and invited him to go ice skating and then out for ice cream one afternoon. During their outing, Luis was so enthralled by his friend’s experiences and stories. It had inspired him to join the U.S Marines. Now working as an electrician and helping to build one of FPL’s new solar energy centers, Luis hopes to make a difference for his community and inspire others.

Second Lieutenant Kelly Fagan, U.S. Marine Corps

Kelly Fagan was commissioned as an officer in the Marine Corps after graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy. Now working for FPL as a Project Manager in Engineering and Construction, Kelly is proud to be tasked with the mission of bringing more solar energy to Florida – something that will help all Florida families and the generations to come.

Captain Brandon Stankiewicz, U.S. Army

After graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point, Brandon rose through the ranks in the U.S. Army to become a Brigade Assistant Operations Officer. At the end of his military career, he wanted to continue his mission to make a difference in his community. Nearly 10 years ago, he joined NextEra Energy Resources as a project manager and currently serves as the Director of Development responsible for universal-scale solar development opportunities.

These five men and women, among many more, are at the forefront of building solar energy and creating a better tomorrow for all of us. As we plan to build even more solar across Florida, we will continue to look for opportunities to hire more veterans along our journey to bring even more affordable, reliable and clean energy to Florida.

About The Author

Matt Valle

Matt Valle is the Vice President of Development at Florida Power & Light. He is responsible for leading the development of new technologies, including solar and natural gas.

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