Bright Employee: Megan Frenkel, Junior Software Developer, Applied Technology


Megan FrenkelWe’re proud of the intelligent, passionate, and hardworking people that make up the Bright Power team. Each month, you’ll get a chance to meet one of them, understand how they contribute to the organization, and what makes them excited to come to work every day.

Meet Bright Power team member Megan Frenkel, Junior Software Developer, Applied Technology.

What are some of the things you like most about working at Bright Power?
I love working with a group of young, creative people who all have the same overarching interests that I do: mitigating climate change and making communities more sustainable. It’s nice to come into the office every day knowing that the work we are doing is aligned with my personal beliefs and what is beneficial for climate and society. Not everyone is that lucky.

What are some projects and accomplishments you’re most proud of?
I’m most proud of the work I’ve done alongside my Applied Technology and Data Team teammate, Trish Ogen, to help automate some of the data team processes. Before, some of those processes were slow and could take hours; now, some are fast and take minutes! Being able to help my coworkers work more efficiently and effectively is a rewarding part of my job.

What’s something people might not know about you and your role at Bright Power?
I organize Bright Power’s running club! I’m a really social runner, so I love getting to know people who I don’t have a chance to interact with at work and learning more about what is happening in other parts of the company. We have a solid 5 or 6-person contingent, but I’m always trying to get more people to join, regardless of experience or ability.

Data Team
Pictured left to right: Michael Jarrett, Data Team Lead; Emma Kurihara, Data Systems Specialist; Lin Ao, Data Systems Specialist; Ashley Carter, Data Systems Specialist; Megan Frenkel, Junior Software Developer, Applied Technology; Trish Ogen, Junior Software Developer, Applied Technology

You’ve been at Bright Power for a year and already got a promotion. Congratulations! Tell us about the progression of your career at Bright Power.
Thanks! Before moving over to the Applied Technology team, I started at Bright Power on the Data Team working with our clients’ utility bills and automated data feeds. Fun fact: the Data Team is almost entirely female, which is pretty rare in technology, data, and sustainability circles. Each team member has their own expertise and strengths, but what’s most exciting is how the team collaboratively solves problems and actively engages in knowledge sharing to build up everyone’s ability.

However, I’ve always had an interest in software development. In college and graduate school, I had exposure to coding through academic research but hadn’t had the opportunity to fully pursue it. After I attended a session of Bright Power’s “Learn to Code” series last summer, I actually became a “partner” of the (now) Applied Technology process with a coding project that ended up decreasing the running time of one of the Data Team data feeds by 95%. At that point, I was officially hooked. Software development was where I wanted my career to go.

When I expressed this interest to my manager, Bright Power’s Technology team worked with me to figure out a plan for transitioning from the Data team to Applied Technology. That’s another great thing about Bright Power. I was able to say “I have this interest and I want to pursue it,” and I was encouraged to follow my interests. As I grow in my Junior Software Developer role, I look forward to soaking up as much knowledge as I possibly can from the talented software engineers around me!

Tell us about the Technology Tools You Learn (TTyL) series you have helped organize. What is it? What are your goals?
The TTyL series is an extension of what used to be called Bright Power’s “Learn to Code” series. The series is based on the ideas that (1) there are plenty of processes at Bright Power that deserve greater automation, (2) people may not have knowledge of or exposure to the software tools at their disposal, and (3) everyone can learn to code! Our biggest goal is not only to add value to the company by increasing productivity, but also to add value to each of us as individuals by expanding our collective knowledge and empowering us to find creative solutions using technology.

This will be the first time Trish and I are leading the series, but the second time we’ve been actively involved in it. This month, we’re going to have three classes. Trish and I are leading the first “Intro to Coding” session, which we also led last time, to give everyone new to coding the same foundation. The next session—hosted by Audrey Buckman, Project Manager, New Construction, and Jake Miles, Senior Software Developer—is going to focus on how to find bugs in your code and how to fix them. Both Jake and Audrey have been champions in promoting TTyL and spreading technology resources to other teams. The last session—hosted by Adrian Franco, Project Manager, and Lin Ao, Data Systems Specialist—is all about harnessing the power of SQL and demystifying the Bright Power MySQL databases. Lin is a SQL champ and Adrian has worked on almost every facet of Bright Power’s data since he joined the company.

I’m excited to see what people learn. The sessions are short, so we hope that the series itself will give people a taste of what technology can do for them, but ultimately inspire attendees to come to the Applied Technology team with ideas that we can turn into new projects that make work easier and more efficient!

You’re attending Urjanet’s SPARK later this month. What do you hope to learn at the event?
Utility data is incredibly complex and nuanced, which is why our work is so important for our clients—we maneuver through these complexities and provide actionable insights, not just numbers on a page. At SPARK, I’m looking forward to meeting our Urjanet partners, many of whom I’ve worked with closely over the last year to mutually tackle these nuances. I’m also excited to see how other industry leaders are using technology and share best practices for working with utility data.