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“MassBay played a role in me getting where I am today by teaching me to challenge myself.”
When Jonathan Corkum graduated from MassBay in 2011, he figured his degree would open all sorts of doors for him. But he quickly realized, “the economy was in the tank and nobody was hiring.” Instead of settling for a job he didn’t want or like, Jonathan mustered his courage, relied on the training and encouragement he received at MassBay, and started his own company.
Today, after only about five months in business, Greener Energy Solutions is adding staff and fending off buy-out offers.
“It was rough at first, going up against million and billion dollar companies” Jonathan admits. “I had to go door-to-door and business-to-business to get my name out there. But I learned a lot about myself, and I’m definitely applying the skills I learned at MassBay.”
Greener Energy Solutions provides solar panels, electric vehicle charging stations, and energy efficient lighting solutions mostly to commercial enterprises. Along with co-founder Alan Lavine, a UNH graduate who serves as the company’s Chief Financial Officer, Jonathan and Greener Energy Solutions opened for business in August 2011.
“I found something I really wanted to do,” says Jonathan, 24. “I am passionate about alternative energy, and I am working to reduce our carbon footprint. Plus I’m helping people save money now and into the future. It makes my work really rewarding.”
Jonathan’s associate degree is in liberal arts, and he became fascinated about the idea of starting his own business in his economic classes. One of his professors, Charles Fair, became “like a mentor” to Jonathan.
“Before I went to MassBay I was kind of status quo,” he says. “I was only going to college because that’s what I was supposed to do. But I found myself getting engaged in my classes, wanting to share my perspective. With professors in most schools, the curriculum is set, but a lot of aspects of today’s modern economic times really don’t have an updated book to tell us what to do.”
“Professors were learning along with us,” Jonathan continues, “They would bring something up and ask students, ‘how do you feel about this’?”
Jonathan says the reason why he chose MassBay was its location, “and the relatively smaller class sizes compared to larger universities. During my time at MassBay I moved twice, first to Natick and then to Brighton. Both places were remarkably close to the school, making the commute one less thing I had to worry about. The smaller class sizes allowed for me to interact with my professors more on a one to one basis versus just being a face in the crowd.”
It was the professors he had that truly made Jonathan’s MassBay experience a fruitful one. “They would spend their own time helping me beyond the classroom, in life,” he recalls. “This attention to detail helped me have the courage and motivation to be where I am today. You don't often see professors going to such lengths.”
“MassBay played a role in me getting where I am today by teaching me to challenge myself,” says Jonathan. “Too often students fall victim of being the status quo or doing the bare minimum. What I learned about my education was you get what you put into it. By being motivated and thinking outside the box, you’re creating unique set skills that will differentiate yourself (in a currently very competitive workforce). I am where I am today because the professors took the time to help me grow as a student, and a person in life. I cherish my time in school and appreciate all the opportunities that were presented to me.”
Jonathan Corkum graduated from MassBay in 2011 with an Associate Degree in Liberal Arts.