By Krishna Nault
In today’s blog feature, we interview Ryan Macdonald, a Wind Turbine Technician & IRATA 2 Rope Access Technician, currently working at Vestas. Ryan had previously worked with us as a window cleaner on the Black Tie Construction team and I had a chance to sit down with him and interview him about his experience with us.
Can you share with us some background about yourself? Where are you from and what are your passions?
Well, I’m 30 years old and I grew up in Revelstoke, BC. Big into mountaineering and outdoor adventures, as well as a fan of history and political activism. Bit of a renaissance man, haha.
Can you describe for us what your current job is?
I currently work as a resource technician with Vestas Americas, and I travel across North America building, servicing, repairing and sometimes decommissioning wind turbines. It’s a 100% on-the-road position, so my fixed address is a storage locker now.
That’s such an interesting job, what inspired to pursue that?
I spent seven years in the tech startup industry, and one day as I was very tired of that role I saw a really cool photo of someone who was repairing a turbine blade on ropes in Morocco. I thought that I wanted to do that and gave myself 5 years to do it. Haven’t quite made it to Morocco yet!
What is it that you love doing about this job?
This has been a dream job of mine, and one of my favorite things about it is that it brings me to travel to places that I wouldn’t have otherwise. So far this job has taken me to Oregon, Texas, Iowa, and across Canada three times by car. I spend anywhere from 4 days to several months in each location depending on the project.
One of my passions is rock climbing, and a big percentage of my days are spent hanging from ropes professionally now. Also, I am compensated well for the work that I do.
Can you describe for us your experience working with Black Tie?
Working at Black tie for over three years was a formative experience for me. I learned a lot of skills from David (Managing partner of Black Tie Construction services) such as accountability, attention to detail, and team management skills. In my years of work experience, working at Black Tie was the most valuable in terms of hard transferable skills learned – hands down. I’ve worked for other window cleaning companies before and sometimes worked with people who weren’t very inspiring or motivated which was rarely the case here.
I love how Black Tie creates the best possible work experience for window cleaning. I was never made to feel like I was just a number. David really makes you feel like you are part of the family and I loved the monthly barbecues. He makes the best Guacamole!
Shout out to Ravi, too, he was there as I went over my first drop practically holding my hand while I was scared. One of the hardest workers and nicest guys I’ve ever met.
What kind of advice could you give for someone working at Black Tie who is aspiring to grow into working in other industries like yourself?
In terms of career development, I think working in construction is more valuable. Working in property services is a bit more relaxed and flexible, you don’t have to wear PVC every day. I found I learned valuable time management skills there. In the construction side though, you are constantly interacting with construction crews, liasoning directly with the site supervisors on timelines, you have to be really conscientious about where you drop your ropes, and you have a lot more tasks that you have to be managing. When I first started doing wind turbine installations, in 2018/2019, I feel like I wouldn’t have been nearly as successful doing that job if I hadn’t already had experience working with the construction team at Black Tie. I would say that working with David set me up for my future success.
Can you share a fun fact about you?
I’ve been a hobby photographer for about a decade now, my camera is my constant companion on the road!
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Window cleaning isn’t the most glamorous job, and sometimes it’s a struggle due to weather or the stress of the contract, but out of all the jobs I’ve had it definitely prepared me the most for a career with heavy responsibilities and high pressure. And the first time you notice some kid forcing his parents to stop walking so he can watch in amazement as you hang off a building, or try to hand you a cold pop out a window as you abseil past – that’s a feeling you’ll never forget. 😉
Thanks Ryan for taking the time to share your insight and knowledge with us. It was great talking to you and we at Black Tie wish you success in the world of wind turbines.