Derek Wright 

Field Health and Safety Manager, Capstone Infrastructure, Wind Division

Clean Energy Career Profile

Ever wonder what it would be like to work as a wind turbine technician, 500 feet in the air? Or to work as a solar farm electrician, harnessing the power of the sun and using it to charge a massive on-site battery system? CanREA’s Clean Energy Career Profiles series asks Canada’s renewable energy and energy storage workers what they do, how they got into this line of work, and what advice they have for others looking to join the renewable energy and energy storage sector. 

In 2023, CanREA spoke with Derek Wright, Field Health and Safety Manager, Capstone Infrastructure, Wind Division, to find out more about his occupational journey.

Name: Derek Wright
Job: Field Health and Safety Manager
Company: Capstone Infrastructure, Wind Division

Career journey 

A Health Sciences graduate, Derek Wright started his career as an administrative assistant and first leaned about renewables 10 years ago. He soon realized there was something significant to this new field. In fact, it was already big in Ontario with lots of projects being developed. It all looked like the career advancer he was looking for. So, he looked through the course calendar at Fanshawe College and decided on the Renewable Energies Technician program as a first step in a fresh new career. Derek was hired as a wind technician at Erie Shores Wind Farm for six years. He has now been promoted to Field Health and Safety Manager for the Wind Division of Capstone Infrastructure. 

A day in the life

A typical day for Derek begins with going to one of Capstone’s wind farms to meet with the technician crew. The morning agenda is discussed. Then Derek and the crew head to the turbine requiring repair or maintenance. He spends the morning observing the technicians, providing guidance and making note of any safety concerns or issues. From there it’s back to the shop to answer emails, schedule and review training, update policies and procedures, and review incident reports. Also on the agenda are risk assessments, meetings with site managers and all the preparation that goes with them, plus any other admin work waiting for him. 

Quick advice 

“Background experience and schooling are important for working in the renewable sector. But you can also transition to different roles within the field during your career. For example, you can go from a blade repair role to a technician role.” 

—Derek Wright

Important skills 

  • Critical thinking: This involves being presented with a problem and being able to come up with a creative solution. This involves building on previous experience and knowledge, and the ability to dissect the problem. 
  • Good communication:  This requires articulating instructions clearly to technician crews, discussing maintenance and repair plans with site managers, and addressing any safety concerns promptly and effectively. 
  • Organization: This involves prioritizing activities, coordinating schedules, and managing resources to ensure smooth operations at each site.