2024 Women in Construction Week, Emerging Professionals Q+A



On International Women’s Day, and the final day of Women in Construction Week, we are excited to highlight two emerging professionals on our Energy Audits team. Meet Alice Zhang and Abby Arrunategui.

Both Alice and Abby have had inspiring career starts, and in this Q+A we dive into their backgrounds and experiences:

Question: What drew you to work in building sustainability?

Alice: I found my way into the sustainability industry after being driven to create more community impact, particularly while growing up as a native New Yorker. Growing up in the city, I always sought work that gave back to my community. After working with organizations that support immigrant families, and then gaining a background in chemical engineering, I wanted to continue driving change in housing equity & sustainability.

Abby: I was drawn to the industry because I wanted to learn about auditing building systems and improving the energy efficiency of buildings. In NYC, it’s inspiring to see the huge potential for more energy conservation and efficiency in the existing building landscape. 


Question:  What was your experience prior to Bright Power?

Alice: I completed a thesis on solar technology – LED-based characterization of solar cells for underwater applications – and other projects on wind power, sustainable filtration. Then I completed a Clean Energy NYSERDA program internship. I liked talking to my professors in sustainable urban environment courses, and learning about the politics and history behind it.

Abby: Prior to joining Bright Power, I worked in HVAC design and also previously interned in the research and development space. I have always been interested in sustainability.


Question: Which projects have you learned the most from in your career?

Alice: I had a memorable experience during an energy efficiency project in public housing. It gave me deeper insight into the lived experience of individuals living in public housing, and also expanded my knowledge of the complexities of public policies, official processes, utilities, and incentive programs at play. Engaging in in-unit testing during the project gave me insight into residential life, and I received valuable feedback regarding building improvements that increase tenant comfort.

Abby: The first project that I managed on my own had a huge impact on me. I was able to build on previous experience in design, and learn more through hands-on functionality testing. This project served as a substantial learning experience and really solidified my understanding of how sustainable solutions operate in real-world scenarios.


Question: What do you enjoy most about your team?

Alice: Everyone is friendly, enjoys collaborating, and has a good work ethic. As a team, we are focused and goal-oriented. 

Abby: Like others in the sustainability industry, the people are mutually caring, and everyone’s looking out for everyone else’s best interest.



Collectively, Alice and Abby’s journeys in the sustainability industry illustrate the multifaceted nature of their work, spanning community engagement, policy comprehension, and hands-on energy performance insights.

Both Alice and Abby share common values that contribute to their impact at Bright Power. They enjoy taking part in a collaborative group of hard- working engineers. Alice and Abby both also value the opportunity to work with NYC’s diverse population, mobilizing their language abilities in both Chinese and Spanish to create a more comfortable environment for tenants.

We look forward to watching their future growth.