BOONE, N.C. — James Holton ’15 likes to see results quickly and is energized by the quick turnaround of ideas and implementations in his position with Tesla, a sustainable energy and electric vehicle company headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area of California.
Holton, a Winston-Salem native who graduated from Appalachian State University with a Bachelor of Science in appropriate technology — a major now called sustainable technology — is a licensed electrician and senior crew leader in Tesla’s Milpitas, California, business unit.
“I enjoy the collaborative and rapid pace of operations,” Holton shared. “Tesla is at the forefront of the renewable industry. Product development, innovation and efficiency are core to our culture. Being a part of decisions and improvements — and seeing them implemented immediately — gives me a sense of satisfaction and involvement.”
Holton’s education at Appalachian provided him a solid foundation in the photovoltaic industry, he said.
“I gained a strong understanding of the current landscape of the industry, which proved to be invaluable,” he said. “Once I learned the art and trade of install, everything else fell into place for me to move forward in my career. I received four promotions in the first two years of working.”
The lab work at Appalachian was most helpful in training him for his career, he added.
“The appropriate technology lab in Katherine Harper Hall was my home for a long time. I asked a ton of questions when I was a student and always made a point of stopping in to see what was happening in the labs,” Holton said.
“Renewable energy is a rapidly growing market and industry in the United States,” he said. “Appalachian graduates have more than just the knowledge, but also the practical aptitude to apply the learned knowledge to their jobs.”
“There are few other schools that have what Appalachian can offer, be it in photovoltaics, wind, hydro or even sustainable transportation,” he added. “The small class sizes and balance of hands-on experience with class time was an ideal environment for me to learn both theoretical and practical knowledge.”
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About the Department of Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment
One of seven departments housed in the College of Fine and Applied Arts, the Department of Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment at Appalachian State University features an integrated array of programs spanning the fields of sustainable design and technology. Its mission is to foster a strong and vibrant culture of inquiry, discovery and innovation that integrates theory with application, problem seeking with problem-solving, local issues with global perspectives and technological progress with environmental stewardship. It offers bachelor’s degrees in sustainable technology and building science, and a master’s degree in technology. Learn more at https://stbe.appstate.edu.
About the College of Fine and Applied Arts
Appalachian State University’s College of Fine and Applied Arts is a dynamic and innovative group of seven academic departments, bringing together a variety of perspectives, experiences and real-world education to provide unique opportunities for student success. The college has more than 3,000 undergraduate and graduate majors. Its departments are Applied Design, Art, Communication, Military Science and Leadership, Sustainable Development, Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment, and Theatre and Dance. Learn more at https://faa.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the Southeast, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls nearly 21,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.