Colin Sikes

Wind Turbine Technician

"I didn’t think much about wind energy as a career at first. Then, for an English paper as a high school senior, I randomly chose to research and write about working as a wind turbine technician. As I completed the assignment, I realized the wind industry might be for me.

I decided to do a local college visit and tour the wind program facility at Cloud County Community College with my parents. My dad spoke with one of the instructors about the booming wind industry and the demand soon to come, and we walked away convinced that wind energy would be a promising route for me. I ended up completing a wind energy certificate before being offered a position at the Marshall Wind Farm east of Marysville, Kansas.

Today, I’m the lead technician at the Milligan Wind Farm just north of Fairbury, Nebraska. I commute to the site daily from my home in Palmer, Kansas, and coordinate work for the technicians below me, plan for upcoming turbine repairs, troubleshoot and perform maintenance. I’m happy to have a career that pushes me every day to learn something new, and I take pride in providing for my growing family while making a difference environmentally.

Cloud County was my first step in formal training. We learned the basics of electricity, hydraulics, networking, programmable logic controllers, composite repair and substation operations. When I was hired, my company sent me to their technical training center in Portland, Oregon. I spent three weeks in safety training and introductory classes on turbine basics. Since then, it’s mostly been in-field experience and trips back to Portland.

As for informal training, I had a good grasp on mechanical know-how from working on my own vehicles growing up, and trade-type classes also helped me prepare for this industry. Fabrication, woods, cabinet building, and general tech classes really solidified my understanding that I was made to work with my hands and take pride in the process and outcome.

Looking ahead, I’d like to work my way into a technical support role. After that, management is where I’d like to end my career.

Plenty of well-paying jobs are available in the wind industry. There are opportunities in development, construction, sales, marketing, transportation, legal assistance, environmental, recruiting, management, engineering, manufacturing, utilities and more. If you’re interested in the wind industry, go for it!"