Do What You Love: Environmental Manager for Recreation Fred Noland
Environmental Manager Fred Noland never thought he would build a career at an energy company, but that’s precisely what he’s done. And he’s not exactly a rare bird — many Idaho Power employees often find themselves spending their entire careers with us.
“I assumed I was going to work for a government agency, like a state park or the BLM. Then in my last few weeks of college, I noticed a job post highlighting Idaho Power’s recreation and stewardship work,” he said. “One of my professors had a clean hydropower poster on his office wall. I asked him what he knew about Idaho Power, and that helped seal the deal, so I applied.”
Shortly after graduating with a degree in Resource Recreation and Tourism from the University of Idaho, Fred started as an Environmental Assistant at Idaho Power. “I was the only person in my program who had a full-time job, with benefits, lined up before we even graduated.”
Fred’s first job was conducting recreation use surveys in Hells Canyon (interviewing people about their recreation, including how and where they do it). Over the next three years, these surveys took Fred across Idaho Power’s service area and evolved into more in-depth mail surveys and data management, including in his next role as Data Manager.
Over the next 10 years, Fred was able to explore different opportunities within Idaho Power before being appointed as the first director of our parks program, a job he earned in part because of his experience working with park facilities, including as a summer job in high school.
“After a couple of years developing and leading the parks staff, Idaho Power gave me the opportunity to get a master’s degree in Environmental Policy and Administration,” Fred said. “I was able to work, go to graduate school, and even welcome a son all at the same time, and it was because the company supported my education, but also my work-life balance.”
Today, when Fred is looking for candidates to join his team, he looks beyond the usual skills and requirements associated with the position. He looks for candidates who have a sense of pride in what they do and who love working in this field. As Fred says, “At Idaho Power, you’re a good fit if you want to do a good job and do the right thing. We need curiosity and motivation to help us work through complex challenges.”
Fred feels there aren’t many other places in Idaho where you can work as part of a team that provides reliable energy to the communities we serve, while also studying impacts to the river. “We’re addressing societal issues on a big scale — it’s a front row seat to solving conflict between people and the environment.”