CareerTech Champions

Valerie Dowis – High Plains Technology Center

There’s not much Valerie Dowis hasn’t done. A graduate of Fort Hays State University in Kansas, Dowis was a radiologic technologist for nine years, performing X-rays, CT scans, mammograms and fluoroscopic procedures.

The job market was tight in the area around her northwest Oklahoma home, so she decided to look into other career options. First, she drove a water truck in the oil field. Three years later, Dowis discovered High Plains Technology Center’s wind energy program.

Dowis enrolled at High Plains, where she learned about basic safety and electrical systems and how a turbine works. A job opportunity was waiting for her as soon as she completed the program, and she went to work as a wind tech with NextEra Energy Resources.

She quickly worked her way up in the company, accepting the site manager position when it became available, and was recently promoted to regional wind site manager.

“The training allowed me to get my foot in the door with NextEra, an opportunity I may not have had otherwise,” she said.

According to Dowis, her career has soared in the last five and a half years. She described every day as “an exciting day to go to work.” 

“It never gets boring,” Dowis said. “Because I love what I do, compensation isn’t even the most important piece of my career. But it’s a very nice perk.” 

In addition to her work at NextEra, Dowis said she also saves money by using her skills at home, doing electrical work she would have had to hire someone to do. 

“High Plains Technology Center is where it all began,” she said. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the need for wind turbine technicians will grow more than 50 percent by the end of this decade. 

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