The solar industry in Wisconsin now employs more than 3,000 people, but, according to J.D. Smith, head of business development for Plymouth-based Arch Solar, the industry went through some lean years. Smith credits solar veterans, including Angie Kochanski, director of Arch Solar, for laying the foundation of the industry’s current success.
Kochanski worked for three other solar companies before starting Arch in 2017.
“Angie was Milwaukee’s all-in-one solar consultant, designer, site assessor, program coordinator, marketer, project manager, and most importantly, educator,” Smith said. “Sticking with it through those years of difficulty paid off in 2019 when the Wisconsin solar industry began to take off in earnest.”
This growth meant that Kochanski had to switch from doing everything herself to growing a team that hired an average of more than 12 people a year.
In the next three years, she trained nine new solar professionals, moved offices three times in 12 months, and still found time to bartend Wednesday nights at the bar in the Burnham Park neighborhood in Milwaukee that she co-owns with her husband.