Arcadia Voices is an interview series highlighting the work, insights, and ideas of those working with Arcadia to build a 100% clean energy future.
If any one person exemplifies Arcadia’s focus on putting members first, it might just be Katie Theiss. Talk to her for even a few minutes and you’ll realize how dedicated Theiss is to making sure that members have a great time with Arcadia.
As a product manager, Theiss works on creating a delightful experience for members. Currently, she and her team are focused on expanding community solar so that more people can benefit from hassle-free solar energy. Whatever she’s doing, Theiss wants to make sure that members understand what an important environmental impact they’re having.
Our collective impact is so important: the more customers we bring on board, the more of an impact we can have on the environment.”
Theiss took some time in between Zoom meetings to chat about her role at Arcadia and why a customer-first mindset is such a game-changer in the energy industry.
Kate Henningsen: What brought you to Arcadia?
Katie Theiss: While working at a B2B company, I saw that there was a need for a direct-to-consumer company that would allow all customers, not just homeowners, to participate directly in building a clean energy future. With a little bit of experience in the energy sector under my belt, I was frustrated by how energy incumbents have struggled to put the customer first. When I heard two Arcadia employees (Joel and Zach) speak at an event in 2017 about what Arcadia was starting to build, I knew I had to get involved. I saw a huge potential for Arcadia to be a transformative company, and I loved the focus on customers, community, and collective impact.
Want to change the future of energy?Come work with us!
What’s the work culture like?
Arcadia has the smartest, hardest-working, most mission-driven people I’ve ever worked with. We work with a sense of urgency because we’re all working toward a larger purpose: building a 100% renewable energy future. At the same time, we keep it light. We bring our whole selves to work, and that allows us to build meaningful relationships, which leads to even better collaboration and teamwork.
What are some aspects of the culture that resonate with you?
I love all of our company values, but in particular “build together” and “build for good.” We are solving big, thorny problems; there’s a reason a customer-first energy company like ours hasn’t existed before us. Having that higher purpose of building for good is what motivates me and others to go the extra mile. That’s why it’s so important to build together, too. None of us can solve climate change by ourselves, so having an amazing group of people working on this issue together is so important.
Arcadia has the smartest, hardest-working, most mission-driven people I’ve ever worked with… we bring our whole selves to work.”
I also like to think about “building together” as it relates to our product and our customers. Our collective impact is so important: the more customers we bring on board, the more of an impact the company can have on the environment. Our members make up an amazing community working together toward a clean energy future, and it’s our job as product managers to make sure they feel that – and to make other people want to join in!
What has been your favorite project so far?
Right now, we’re thinking of new ways to talk about community solar, and this has involved user testing and talking to customers. One thing that has really stuck out to me is that customers have a very specific idea of what solar is: it goes on your roof. My job is to think about how we can turn that thinking upside down and explain an entirely different way of accessing clean energy – but still keep it simple and easy to understand. Talking to customers and listening to their feedback firsthand is the best way to start building experiences that are customer-first.
What do you enjoy most about working at Arcadia?
I love how laser-focused everyone is on the customer. With everyone focused on the same objectives, it’s amazing to see how great product ideas come from all throughout the company. For example, we recently did a brainstorming exercise to think of new ideas related to our community solar product. Within an hour, we thought of 90 new ideas across product, marketing, brand, design, and business development. One of the great things about Arcadia is that everyone is empowered to think of ideas and run with them. We do a great job of fostering creativity and experimentation.
One of the great things about Arcadia is that everyone is empowered to think of ideas and run with them. We do a great job of fostering creativity and experimentation.
What’s your favorite national park?
Two years ago I went to Grand-Staircase Escalante National Monument on a camping trip with my mom. It was so beautiful.
How do you represent our organizational values outside of work?
I bike to work. I’ve also volunteered for the Clean Energy Leadership Institute, an amazing organization that develops new clean energy leaders.