Purchasing Inventory Control Manager, San Luis Valley Weatherization Services
“A Mindset of Getting Things Done”
Rae Venturi had been out of work for a year when she stumbled across a job opening at Veterans Green Jobs. She had been searching on the Internet for work in Colorado related to purchasing and inventory, and found a description that matched her qualifications.
“The opportunity to work with veterans appealed to me,” says Rae, who moved to the San Luis Valley for the job.
A military veteran herself, Rae had had previous experience working with a few other veterans, but it was never a focus. Now, she relishes the chance to be in the company of others like herself. “We share the same mindset of getting things done, and each one of us is expected to hold our end of the bargain up,” Rae says, referencing the sense of accountability and teamwork that was drilled into her as an Army Reserves officer.
Working for a weatherization program is a first for Rae, but she sees a long-term career path. “This is a good time to get in on it,” she reflects. “Our Earth resources continue to decrease, and eventually we’ll exceed what’s available. Finding alternative energies is good.”
As purchasing inventory control manager, Rae spends most of her time buying materials, supplies and equipment for the weatherization crew. She recently started joining the crews in the field once or twice a month, helping blow insulation into attics or installing windows.
“I have some construction background so I won’t be a complete newbie, but can learn a few things,” she says, adding that the exposure will help her understand what her crews need and ensure they get proper support.
It will also be a chance to interact with the clients, who receive energy efficiency upgrades at no cost. “They are overwhelmed with gratitude that there is an organization out here doing this for the community. They see immediate results when they feel the warmth of their house because the air leakages are fixed.”
Even though Rae left the military in 1990, she still faces challenges when it comes to feeling part of civilian society. “Some days it’s harder than others. For the most part I hang in there,” she says. The lack of structure in civilian life is unsettling to her. “Things happen and change and you have to react. More things can go awry. In the military, from the time you get up to the time you go to bed, you know exactly what’s going to happen.”
Nevertheless, Rae sees it as a positive that her work environment includes civilians. “Working with vets who have the same background as me, it’s easy to collaborate and come up with a solution quickly. But the flexibility of my civilian co-workers helps us get through it together. We have different thought processes and develop solutions that meet many needs.”
That team-oriented outlook and willingness to help others carries over to her sense of service to San Luis Valley residents. “The job is very rewarding knowing what we’re doing for the community,” she says.