Environmental news from California and beyond

« Previous Post | Greenspace Home | Next Post »

Green job alert! Polish your resumes

February 12, 2009 |  2:58 pm


Layoffs, layoffs, layoffs. The auto industry is imploding and with every passing week comes news of more job losses; on Tuesday, General Motors said it would reduce its salaried workforce by 10,000 people. That's a lot of engineers on the curb.

GM Impact But at least one company in the auto game is hiring. AeroVironment Inc., the publicly held engineering firm best known for spy planes, solar cars and developing the unfortunately named prototype for the Chevrolet EV1, the GM Impact, was handing out job applications at (if you can believe it) a job and hiring fair Thursday at a Doubletree hotel near company headquarters in Monrovia.

"We're looking to hire a lot of people," said Steven Gitlin, director of marketing strategies at AeroVironment. "There seems to be a lot of interest and activity in clean transportation and that happens to be an area that we've been working on for a long time."

All told, the company is looking to hire more than 100 people. And while the company's biggest line of business is currently unmanned surveillance aircraft that it sells to the military, it also does a lot of work in engineering services for alternative fuel cars cars and, lately, infrastructure for electric vehicles. That work is under the umbrella of AeroVironment's energy systems division, which is looking to hire between 30 and 40 people, mostly engineers.

The company needs them to work on projects such as fast-charging installations for electric vehicles and  test systems for new generations of lithium ion and other kinds of batteries that could be marketed to car companies working on EVs.

AeroVironment's site lists 123 job openings, many of them for engineers or technicians. One such position, for an energy storage engineer, says the successful candidate

will be involved in and responsible for the development, production and test of advanced energy storage systems and battery chargers for electric and/or hybrid powered systems, distributed energy systems and aircraft.

That sounds a lot like working on the future. Not surprisingly, in a state where unemployment is at 9.3%, well over the national average, interest has been high. Gitlin said that over 1,000 people had visited the Web page with sign-up sheets for the job fair, and over 300 had pre-qualified for jobs.

-- Ken Bensinger

Photo: The AeroVironment-designed GM Impact. Credit: General Motors