Employee Spotlight Series: Meet Health, Safety, Environmental and Quality Director Jim Vopelius

Two dogs by a fence.

At Key Capture Energy, we are fortunate to have a talented team of employees who work hard every day to identify, develop, construct and operate large-scale energy storage projects that play a key role in transitioning us to the grid of tomorrow. Without the hard work and dedication from these individuals, Key Capture Energy would not be the company it is today. Our team is comprised of people from many different backgrounds with a diverse set of qualifications, who all share a passion for what they do. Our Employee Spotlight Series, in which we ask our team members to share their stories and divulge a little, or a lot, about working at Key Capture Energy, allows their colleagues and industry associates to get to know them a little more personally.

This week we’re featuring our Health, Safety, Environmental and Quality Director, Jim Vopelius, who recently joined Key Capture Energy. Read on!

What are your typical job duties and responsibilities at Key Capture Energy?

I develop and implement the processes and procedures that reduce operational risks, keep workers safe, and ensure our assets meet the quality goals we’ve established.

Why are health and safety processes, procedures and standards for an energy storage company so important?

KCE holds safety as a value. These processes, procedures, and standards form the foundation for protecting our workers, the public and the environment. Maya Angelou said “… people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Likewise, it is important that people never forget that KCE makes them feel safe when working on or near our assets.

What aspect of your role do you enjoy the most?

I really enjoy engaging with people. While working with leading-edge technologies and developing complex projects are exciting, I love that 90% of my work involves interacting with people.

How did you first learn about Key Capture Energy?

I was invited by an alumni club to a virtual networking presentation regarding the energy transition. There, I met a member of KCE’s Market Operations team, who was an excellent ambassador of the company. She described the culture and the people who worked at KCE and it sounded like a great opportunity to get involved with.

What 3 words would you use to best describe the culture at Key Capture Energy?

Collaborative, empowering, and welcoming.

Do you have an office nickname?

My hardhat typically says Jimmy V, whether I put it there or not.

Can you walk us through a typical “day in the life” of Jim when working from home?

When not in the field, my routine is pretty standard.  First thing I do when I wake up is take care of the dogs. We have an 11 year old English mastiff named Statler and 2.5 year old Neapolitan Mastiff named Xyzal. After that, its coffee and computer time. Teams meetings and calls are taken with the dogs at my feet (I shuffle them outside during the breaks in between). After dinner, I finish up on e-mails, then repeat the same routine the next morning!

What are your top tips and tricks for staying healthy, productive, and vibrant while working from home?

Run at least 4 times a week. Don’t buy junk food while grocery shopping. Don’t ever run out of coffee!

What are your hopes for the storage industry?

I hope to see a 20% market growth year over year through 2025. In addition, I would like to see improvements in technical safety and the widespread adoption of energy storage technology as an enabler for Federal, State, Local and Corporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals.

Fun Facts about Jim:

What kinds of hobbies and interests do you have outside of work?

Dogs are our thing. As mentioned, we currently have an English Mastiff and a Neapolitan Mastiff, with another Neapolitan puppy on the way! I also love muscle cars. We’ve restored both my 1969 Plymouth Road Runner and my wife’s 1968 Dodge Charger. I also enjoy puns, dad jokes and good natured annoyance of my children.

What is your favorite way to spend the weekend?

My wife Jessica and I enjoy live music, everything from Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphys to Guns N Roses and Metallica to Justin Timberlake and Pink. Or, if there is a nightly guitarist at a local restaurant and pub with a dog friendly patio, we’re there.

How do you define success?

In life – providing my kids a post-secondary education opportunity and a reliable late-model car so they start their adult life debt free, educated, and with one of the top life expenses already accounted for.

What is the most important thing you have learned in the last five years?

Maybe not learned, but the last five years have reinforced my belief that change is the key to unlocking value – embrace it!

Best vacation you’ve ever been on? 

A cruise to Alaska by the Inner Passage.

What is one thing you have yet to cross off your bucket list?

Jessica and I are planning a trip to Antarctica for our 25th wedding anniversary!

If you had to eat one meal, every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?

A big one (roughly the size of three meals since I’m only eating one).

Any hidden talents?

Yes, but they’re so well hidden I can’t find them. I can, however, drive a submarine.

What is your favorite song?

“I’ve Got a Name” by Jim Croce.

Anything else to add?

Here are a couple more favorites!

  • Favorite Palindrome: RACECAR
  • Favorite comic strip: Calvin and Hobbs
  • Favorite Movie: The Blues Brothers
  • Favorite Sports Team: The Boston Bruins

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