From Poverty to Successful Career in Weatherization

Jacque Meier recently retired from the Clackamas County Weatherization Program (CCWX), a sub-grantee from the State of Oregon Weatherization Assistance Program.   Her career began many seasons ago that brought her to retirement in March of 2019 celebrating 25 years in the Program.  When the journey began, Jacque was a single mother with three children facing adversity, homeless, living on the street due simply to her poor decision making.  She came to realize this was not the path to continue and reached out for services including public housing to stabilize her families living conditions.  Through Jobs Plus, a subsidized work program administered by the state of Oregon, an employment opportunity with ETBS – Employment, Training Business Services, at that time located on the Marylhurst University campus on the west side of the Willamette River became available.  ETBS, under the direction of Tom Autio, was the Weatherization Assistance Program provider for Clackamas County at that time.

Jacque began as a weatherization installer and is believed to be the first female installer in the Oregon network.   Jacque excelled with this opportunity that provided many steps along the way in her well-seasoned career that eventually landed her as the Weatherization Assistance Program Manager for 18 years.   She enriched her personal development that brought a message of collaboration, thinking outside the box and passion for the services that are delivered in the state of Oregon. That also reached outside the boundaries of Oregon – of course over the duration of her career ruffling a few feathers along the way.   It sure would not have been any fun without that.   Jacque brought her consistent message to the Weatherization Program over the years that still remain today;

1. Do what it takes to provide the highest quality of weatherization services to our customers.

2. Do no harm once we leave the home.

3. I will do what it takes to support the development of a training center if it is the last thing I do.

Jacque was a participant and key stake holder on the Training Center committee known as the Oregon Training Institute commonly referred to as OTI.  However, before OTI came about, it was the Oregon Energy Coordinators Association (OECA) Weatherization Coordinators in the state that developed, coordinated and implemented the training for the Oregon network.  Where was Jacque? Right in the middle of all the action with her staff and facility.  They always gave “up and beyond the call of duty” to make it all happen and that included scheduling client’s homes (site built & manufactured) for the field work training to be completed.  Many of us on the OECA Board always joked it was the Jacque Meier Training Center or the CCWX Training Center.  In fact, during many of those years, the operations were located in a large building, primarily a warehouse, that facilitated the hands on training, OECA’s Training trailers and equipment and plenty of room to handle their multiple crew supported program, inventory and all their vehicles with room to spare – I referred to it as the covered football stadium and that OECA should install a covered miniature golf course to raise unrestricted funds to build the training center.   It was quite the undertaking and much work back then.   Hour after hour, meeting after meeting, the transition from doing this work shifting to a training center for staff became reality.   

It was a learning experience and something I always looked forward to when visiting Jacque’s operations for OECA Board Meetings.  Each visit gave the Board a sneak preview of new, creative ideas and cutting edge technology that Jacque and her staff were up to.  Many of those are implemented in the Oregon Network today.   There was always something in the cooker – in fact I remember one OECA Board Meeting her Energy Educator, Kurt had made a small oven out of I think a small cardboard box with aluminum foil cooking lunch on the parking lot pavement catching the rays from the sun. 

Jacque served on a number of committees, work groups, Boards and attended many meetings on behalf of the network.  The following are just a few that Jacque has on her long list that I would like to highlight.

  • During OECA’s years of the non-profit status she served on the Board – Chaired for several terms.  Jacque showed so much interest early on she attended the board meetings for years before filling a position.
  • Served on ACE – Advisory Committee on Energy to OHCS.  Once again, attending meetings out of interest before appointed a member. 
  • Participated on the Training & Technical Assistance and Specification Committee for the OECA network.
  • Served and was instrumental with the birth of the Training Center as we know it today - OTI.
  • Served on the Energy OutWest Board and Peer Exchange representing the Oregon Network – She really enjoyed the opportunity to engage with peers outside the Oregon Network that kept the Oregon Network connected with Energy Outwest. 
  • USDOE State Plan work group participant for the State of Oregon.

Steve Divan, Weatherization Program Manager with Oregon Housing and Community Services, shares the following comments; “Her active participation in the Weatherization Assistance Program has been instrumental in shaping the weatherization network into what it is today. Her tireless work ethic, dedication to bettering the program and attention to detail has shaped Clackamas County Weatherization Program into one of the premier agencies in the state.  She will be missed and the network is diminished by her retirement.”

Jacque was passionate from the start to the end implementing the highest quality of service delivery and striving to do no harm.   She made countless contributions to the Oregon Network during her 25 years.  Jacque, we thank you for all those years of dedication and support that you and your staff provided to the Oregon Network fellow partners.  

Happy Trails!!

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Energy OutWest (EOW) is an independent organization devoted to the advancement of knowledge and practice in the field of weatherization. EOW is a very active peer exchange organization directed by a board with representatives from fifteen states... View More

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