Why this data engineer joined the team of climate crusaders at Inspire - Technical.ly Philly

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Why this data engineer joined the team of climate crusaders at Inspire

Tyler Blevins shares an inside look at his role as senior manager of data engineering at the clean energy tech company.

Inspire's team.

(Courtesy photo)

To be a successful technologist at Inspire, you don’t just need the right engineering skills — you need to have a passion for protecting the planet. This is exactly why Tyler Blevins, senior manager of data engineering, took a clean energy tech company position.

“I wanted the job that I’d be dedicating my life to, to be bigger than me or any one corporation,” Blevins said.

Three years into his role at Inspire, Blevins’s passion has translated into an impressive rise from data engineer to a senior manager on the platform team. It’s a testament to the focus that Inspire has placed on employee growth.

“I owe a lot of my success to my manager,” he said. “He’s always pushing for my growth, guiding me on how to get to the next level while being receptive to my own goals.”

Inspire launched in 2014 to make clean energy choices more accessible to consumers and contribute to a zero-net carbon future. Unlike traditional monthly energy bills that fluctuate with usage, Inspire offers custom, flat-rate monthly subscriptions to clean energy, determined by consumers’ usage patterns over a year. It eliminates the sticker shock on energy bills during high-usage seasons and reduces household carbon emissions by 20%. Good for the wallet, and good for the world.

Tyler Blevins. (Courtesy photo)

As a senior manager at Inspire, Blevins works to mentor and grow data and analytics engineers on the company’s platform team. The team is responsible for harvesting and finding practical applications for Inspire’s data. Much of the work involves curating data sets for internal stakeholders — such as the sales, analytics, product and acquisition teams — to solve complicated problems, from how to most productively engage customers navigating the signup funnel to calculating a competitive flat-rate offer for each Inspire customer.

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Blevins “fell in love” with data science as a bioengineering graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania. While working on a study about concussions, he found great satisfaction diving into large data sets related to epilepsy.

“With data, you’re never just learning one thing,” Blevins said. “By trying to understand the context of the data, you’re learning about entire new subjects. That’s what keeps it fresh.”

Following grad school, Blevins enrolled in The Data Incubator bootcamp in New York City. Eventually, he began to work with clients building end-to-end data pipelines. His job was to ingest the data, clean it up and create reports for clients with a data tool called Airflow. With that experience, he landed the job at Inspire, where not only does he love the mission, but he has found a great fit with the team.

“Our team has something special,” he said. “Everyone is supportive and uplifting of one another. We focus on improving our culture all the time — how we work together, grow together.”

As Blevins looks to the future for his growing team, he has his eye on data engineering candidates who are eager to learn.

“The data engineering field is so new that not a lot of people have experience in it yet,” he said. “We’re looking for people with a learning mindset and a strong curiosity — people motivated to learn new tools that they won’t have had the chance to work with yet.”

Blevins said experience in Python and SQL is a plus and a desire to learn about the clean energy industry. And, obviously, last but certainly not least: an Avengers-like passion for protecting the planet.

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