From teacher to renewable energy leader: Chelsea Abner

pattern stories
Written by:
Ed Domain

Chelsea Abner at Broadview Wind dedication in 2019

“Our culture at Pattern has made me a better leader, and a better person. I’m also able to say I played a part making the world a better place, and that means a lot to me”

“I am from Big Springs, Texas,” Chelsea Abner told me as we chatted under the bright New Mexican sun while spring bloomed around us. “I was an educator, but always had an interest in renewable energy. I found the technology and industry fascinating.”

Chelsea Abner is the Facility Manager for Broadview Wind and Grady Wind in Eastern New Mexico, and came to work in the renewable energy industry in an interesting way.

“I was changing industries, and so I worked my way up from the bottom,” Chelsea told me. “First I was a Wind Tech, then an Assistant Facility Manager and now I manage a team of sixteen.”

I asked her why; why was she interested in moving to wind, and were there parallels with education?

Kelsey and Chelsea, Pre-Pandemic.

“As I mentioned, I had always been interested in renewable energy, but I’ve also always loved working with people. People are important.”

Chelsea paused briefly, lending the last sentence more weight.

“We have two hundred and twenty five wind turbines, three substations, a switchyard, transmission lines… we’ve got it all here. It’s a serious wind project and the people I work with excite me. I get to see their progress and growth as they develop their careers, and like me wind is a second career for some of our teammates. Seeing them succeed professionally and provide for their families is terrific!”

Family

Chelsea and her wife Kelsey, a photographer, have a cocker spaniel named Tank and live in Clovis, New Mexico, right on the eastern border of the state. I had been there myself, and asked her what she and Kelsey thought of it. 

Chelsea works hard so Tank can have extra naps.

“We love Clovis,” she told me. “After living in Dodge City, Kansas, Clovis feels like a bustling metropolis,” she said with a laugh. “It’s great here!”

“We’re outdoors people. New Mexico is a dark skies state, and we like going to the different places where you can experience it. We go camping and spend a lot of time outside, being as far away from the digital life as we can. We like to be present and enjoy where we are.”

Tank life. 

Chelsea told me with a smile, “Kelsey is my strong foundation that allows me to move forward, and we love our life in New Mexico.”

Women in Wind

We talked about women in the renewable energy industry, and I asked her if Pattern was supportive. 

Outdoors and happy in New Mexico.

“I am continuously grateful that Pattern Energy takes their core values seriously. Vision statements sound good, but Pattern lives theirs. I am able to have conversations about being a woman in the field, which is traditionally male dominated. I have always felt comfortable discussing topics as they arise,. The accepting culture we have here is a key factor in people feeling appreciated, and helping them get where they want to go in their careers.” “Our culture at Pattern has made me a better leader, and a better person. I’m also able to say I played a part making the world a better place, and that means a lot to me.”

Chelsea representing Pattern at AWEA.

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