Meet Jillian Wagner
Jillian is a commercial loan officer at Cambridge Trust Company with a niche specialty in renewable energy finance. Prior to joining Cambridge Trust, she was a bank examiner with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and traveled throughout New England, examining nationally chartered financial institutions of varying size and complexity. Jillian has recently begun pursuing her MBA in finance at UMass Amherst, where she also earned her BBA in accounting in 2012.
Q: How did you get your start in the Renewable Energy industry?
A: The bank was relatively active in the industry before I came on board in 2017 and had previously financed several commercial solar projects under the leadership of my manager, who has been financing solar for nearly 10 years. Renewable energy finance was new to me when I joined the team, but I have been fortunate to learn quickly under the guidance of my manager, who has shared his expertise and network with me these past few years. In October 2018, I closed my first utility-scale solar project financing and have since financed 18 solar projects ranging from 500 KW to 10 MW throughout Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. The bank is committed to supporting the clean energy industry and we recently diversified our practice with financing of a 590 MW portfolio of hydroelectric facilities, which closed in April.
Q: What is the most rewarding aspect of working in an industry as booming, and vital, as Renewable Energy?
A: It has been pretty amazing to see how the technology and programs have transformed just since I have been in the industry, and how businesses, utilities, and state policymakers have united on a goal of getting to 100% renewable energy. Clean energy resources continually become more efficient and competitive, which bodes well for the future of renewables. It seems very feasible that a state with a 100% clean energy goal could reach it – the real question will be if it can be reached in time to have a meaningful impact on climate change. I am certainly proud to play the tiny role I have in getting our country closer to that point.
Q: What advice would you give to young professionals coming up in the field?
A: This could be said for any field, but don’t let inexperience plague you. The knowledge gaps will be filled if you take the initiative to do the research, ask questions, and employ the guidance of those who have more experience than you.
Q: Environmental sustainability is at the core of your work – What are some simple, sustainable practices you apply on a regular basis and would like to see the general public adopt and integrate into their daily lives?
A: My fiancé and I both love to eat meat, steak in particular, but we make a conscious effort to limit our meat consumption and eat vegetarian two or three nights per week. We bring our reusable grocery bags to the store and during farmers market season, we’ll purchase as much as we can from local vendors. Also, we always use cleaning products that are sustainably packaged and without toxic or harmful chemicals, such as Puracy or ECOS. These practices have been really easy to adopt and the opportunity costs feel trivial when we consider the long-term benefits to the environment.