For our newest team member, renewable energy and solar power are more than just a career, they are a guiding light on her life’s path. We are lucky to be one of the stops along that path, which was already long and winding before she got here.
Born and raised in Seattle, Emily Palm-Stikkers has since traveled and lived all over the world, but like so many of our community members who consider themselves “from Southern Illinois,” the region has called her back time and again, and she has now been a happy resident for fifteen years.
Most recently, Emily found herself in Montana, having just completed a degree in Environmental Studies with a minor in Climate Change, and looking for a place to get plugged in and put her schooling to use. Having spent plenty of free time enjoying the wilderness up north, she saw that Southern Illinois provided a growth market in which to ply her trade, as well as an abundance of the hiking, climbing, swimming, and other outdoor activities that she loves. In particular, the sunsets, fall leaves, rock formations, lakes, wineries and breweries, and breathtaking Inspiration Point in LaRue Pine Hills called her home. She also missed the small-town feel and welcoming nature of Southern Illinoisans.
Emily says that welcoming nature was especially nice when she came to AES Solar. “I could not have asked for a better group of people, both professionally and personally. I was welcomed in like family and feel appreciated everyday. We are doing good work in the community, as well running a successful business,” says Emily. She also finds the work itself satisfying because it fulfills her desires to help both individuals and the planet, and appeals to her joy of working outdoors with her hands and solving problems. In a nutshell, “I love that my job takes me outside and to meet all kinds of people, all while making a difference.”
When she’s not making a difference with AES Solar, or otherwise enjoying the great outdoors, Emily also has fun knitting, reading, and savoring good food with good friends. However, even between all of the satisfying work and play, her sights are set on higher goals. She spent summer 2018 working with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife in Livingstone, Zambia, in their exploration of using solar power for elephant fencing. That experience has her very interested in micro-grids in developing nations, and she hopes to one day work with remote villages in the design and installation of renewable energy systems to meet their needs in a way that provides a sense of ownership, autonomy, and a path to sustainable development and improved community life.