At a reception in the coverflowing the Vermont State House’s Cedar Creek Room, Renewable Energy Vermont presented co-founder of Catamount Solar, Dan Kinney with the 2017 Jim Grundy Award for generosity of spirit and integrity in bringing renewable energy to his community.
[View the original press release published on VTDigger.org]
“For the last 20 years, every day Dan has shown his commitment to quality; quality work, quality installation, and quality jobs,” said Jeff Forward, Chair of the Renewable Energy Vermont’s board of directors as he announced the award. “Dan always speaks at length about putting people first, whether his customers or his employees doing good work, technically challenging work that makes our communities and the world a better place.”
Dan Kinney co-founded Catamount Solar, a Randolph, Vermont based worker cooperative in 2011 after nearly a decade of work at groSolar and teaching future solar installers as an adjunct professor at Vermont Technical College. Catamount Solar annually donates 5% of its profits to local charities. Though a long-time advocate for renewable energy, this award was special to Dan for more than just recognition from his peers.
“I wish I wasn’t getting this award, because Jim Grundy was a friend of mine, and is actually the reason I’m working in this sector today” explained Dan Kinney as picked up the award. “I met Jim when I was a seasonal employee at the Vermont state parks, and he was putting in solar in a lot of the state parks … and he had incredible detail and art to his work and everything he did, so it’s a great honor.”
Jim Grundy, a renewable designer, businessman, beloved husband, and community member, was known for his integrity of spirit, kindness of soul, and ingenuity and craftsmanship in renewable energy technologies. After Jim’s passing, the Jim Grundy Award was established by REV and is given annually to a Vermonter who exhibits these qualities, beyond all others.
Dan moved the room as he addressed his peers in the field he’s helped advance, as well as lawmakers concerned with recent job loss in the solar sector. He also used the time to before an audience of legislators to advocate for Vermont workers outside the renewable trades, noting the need for a higher minimum wage to lift up others.
“Vermont’s small, but we matter,” said, Dan Kinney. “The work that I’m doing needs to be passed on, and taking care of your employees matters.”
The award was delivered at REV’s Clean Energy Legislative Reception, after a full day in Montpelier for many renewable energy workers including a national electric codes training before REV’s annual membership meeting involving the election of new board members and new shared code of ethics. Over 80 clean energy tradesmen and women spent the day away from turning wrenches and planning energy projects to make the trip to Montpelier.