Faces of The Energy Co-op: Caleb Conner

By Noah Swistak – 12/8/22

What does your day-to-day as a Member Services Intern at The Energy Co-op look like? 

Day-to-day, I’m the first line of defense for most incoming calls and emails, and I assist Member Services Manager Noah Swistak with a wide variety of tasks: drafting material for the newsletter, helping craft and review outgoing communications, processing membership enrollments, renewals, and changes, as well as other projects. 

Why did you sign up for the internship at The Energy Co-op? 

Since I graduated college, I’ve mostly been working temporary jobs and spending time on my musical endeavors. This fall I decided that I wanted to pivot and start building work experience and gaining expertise in a field that I’m passionate about. I applied to intern at The Energy Co-op because I was excited about the unique opportunity to get into the renewable energy field with a member-owned cooperative. I spent a lot of time in college studying and learning about cooperatives, and the professor I worked with on that recommended this internship to me.  

What have you enjoyed about the training and work you have done so far? 

In addition to the experience of being part of the team at The Energy Co-op, I’ve really enjoyed the training aspect of the internship. Each week, Noah assigns me a few readings on a new aspect of the energy sector and we spend an hour discussing. This has been super rewarding, as I now have a solid grasp of many of the challenges and opportunities in renewable energy that will serve me well as I take my next steps. 

What fact or circumstance about The Energy Co-op was the most surprising for you? 

I had never heard of home heating oil or renewable natural gas before interacting with the Co-op (we don’t really have heating oil in NC, where I’m from). I think the RNG program is super cool though now that I know about it—I think it’s a great example of working within our current circumstances (i.e. landfills exist) to create a better outcome (waste methane is prevented from entering the atmosphere and harnessed for energy production that eliminates the need for fracking) while we wait for the opportunity to transition to a fully green alternative (e.g. electrifying heating systems so they can run on renewable power). 

Tell us a very interesting fact about yourself that we don’t already know. 

I am a licensed scuba diver! 

What’s the most memorable interaction you have had with an Energy Co-op member? 

It’s hard to choose one, but I’ve had number of great interactions with members who just want to talk about how our programs work. I enjoyed my own process of learning about our programs and it’s fun to bring that full circle a bit and get to be a resource for members who want to know how renewable electricity pricing works or how RNG benefits the environment.  

Tell us about a funny moment during your tenure at The Energy Co-op. 

Halloween fell on a Monday this year, and I particularly enjoyed being on zoom calls with Noah in his full chicken suit.

What does sustainability mean to you and how do you put it into practice day to day? 

For me, sustainability is more than just our individual choices and actions (that’s what the big polluters want us to think!) and means taking collective action to hold those who are profiting off of harming the earth and its ecosystems accountable—and to create the infrastructure and institutions we need for the green energy transition. I also think it’s important though to do what we can as individuals to live in right relationship to our environment, so I do a lot of small things day-to-day, like avoiding food waste and limiting my personal energy use. 

What are your aspirations following this internship at The Energy Co-op? 

I’ll be looking for full-time opportunities to work in renewable energy in Philly! I’d like to explore different areas and types of roles in the field and gain more expertise. Super open to recommendations!