Joffrey Wilson

Joffrey Wilson | Director of Strategy and Development | Mortenson 

GOLDEN VALLEY, MINN -- Joffrey Wilson’s path to clean energy took a circuitous route. Growing up in Minneapolis, his one true love was sports. It’s a  love affair that continues in a different form now as he whisks his two sons, ages 7 and 8, to and from basketball and soccer games on a regular basis.

But after his love of sports, came his appreciation for cars. “Walking around the lake, observing different cars. Trying to figure out what car I wanted when I grew up. That actually later on, led to a career in the automotive industry,” he tells us.  

Before his career took off, Joffrey attended college at the University of Minnesota.

“I started out as an accounting major, but it didn't take me long to figure out that I wasn't an accountant. So I finished that class and I decided I wanted to focus on marketing.”

Upon graduating, Joffrey joined Ford Motor Company in Philadelphia as part of the sales and marketing leadership program. He eventually ended up working at the headquarters in Detroit, before deciding to  head back to business school at the University of Michigan.

Post business school, Joffrey found his way back to his hometown of Minneapolis, working with food giant General Mills. He worked with major brands like Yoplait, Cheerios and Lara Bar for seven years, until one day he received an interesting phone call from a recruiter.

“They told me about a construction company with a reputation for innovation and they also highlighted that the company played in the renewable energy space,” Joffrey remembers.

The more he heard, the more his interest in Mortenson Construction was peaked.

“Mortensen is a $4 billion construction firm. About 70 percent of the company is commercial construction and about 30 percent of the company is energy and infrastructure. On the energy and infrastructure side, legacy businesses are solar and wind. We also have a high voltage transmission business,” Joffrey tells us.

Joffrey was ultimately recruited to join the company’s Integrated Energy Solutions team. He spends his days figuring out which energy projects Mortenson should be putting their time and resources towards. Specifically, he focuses on assets like micro-grids, which enable users and owners to control their own energy destiny. Some days, it’s about bringing in more renewable energy, controlling costs or focusing on being more resilient – with an eye toward the future and modernizing our state and country’s existing electrical grid.

“We're also focused on electric vehicle infrastructure. We believe that the majority of vehicles in the future are going to be electric and they're going to need infrastructure to charge,” he adds.

All of that variety keeps every day fresh and new for Joffrey – something he says he loves about his job.

“I think the most exciting thing about working at Mortensen is the fact that there's constant change. And constant change means constant learning. Working in energy, it's a dynamic space. Whether it’s changing technologies, whether it’s changing policy, I feel like I'm always learning on the job.”

The clean energy space in Minnesota is constantly changing, thanks in large part to its job growth. It enjoys growth four times faster than any other job sector. And when you look at renewables specifically, the job growth is even more impressive – 11 times faster than the state’s average job growth rate, according to the 2017 Clean Jobs Midwest Report.

Joffrey’s work also fulfills another need and it’s one he’s never been able to find in a job until he came to Mortenson.

“Service leadership and community service is something that's always been important to me. In the past, I've always fulfilled that through outside volunteer work. But it's pretty exciting to work in a job where I feel like I'm doing good in the world through my actual job,” he says. “Working in clean energy, we have the opportunity to create jobs and to make the world cleaner and I feel like I'm actually giving back in my actual job.”

That’s a common refrain heard among the more than 57,000 Minnesotans currently employed in the state’s clean energy sector. From the solar industry – which has enjoyed a 48 percent job growth in the last year, to wind – which contributes 18 percent of our state’s electricity generation, to new frontiers like energy storage and microgrids, Mortenson’s work touches on all these sectors – all of them experiencing rapid change and growth.

“It feels great to work in a space that's positive. When you tell people what you do for a living, they get excited about it. They realize that investing in renewable energy is imperative for our future, so it's exciting to be a part of something that other people aspire to do.”