When technical supporter Bente Petersen entered technical college back in 1977 to become an electrician, she was anything but mainstream. Out of 179 students, Bente was the only female. Powered by an ambition to go her own ways, she made a commitment to herself to always stay on top of her game – a philosophy she still pursues today.
When Solar’s industry customers call for technical support, they are welcomed by a team of 9 industry experts. They’ll ask anything industry-related ranging from assistance in finding the right transient protection components to guidance on establishing correct potential equalisation. Although it sounds Latin to most, these are just a few of the many challenges our customers work with on a daily basis, and when they turn to Solar for help, they meet Bente and her team.
Tough road to success
With a background in the electrician trade, Bente now holds a bachelor in engineering (high voltage electricity); a title which she earned at the age of 49. Over the years, she has worked both in customer support and as a sales representative, so keeping the focus 100% on the customer is deeply rooted in Bente’s thinking. And she is well respected for her skills and knowledge – but that was not always the case. “When I graduated from technical school, I was happy to be an electrician, because that’s what I love to do, “ Bente explains. However, being the only woman in a male-dominated world was not easy, and apparently, there was no available position for Bente. But when you love what you do, there is no giving up, and eventually she decided to continue her studies in the electrician field.
As a trained electrical engineer, Bente finally landed a job with a local electrical wholesaler. Backed by a manager who saw her potential, she became part of an expert team that supported their customers. She experienced how some customers refused to take her advice because she was a woman, but as she was the expert, there was no way around her. “It was a tough time, but looking back, it’s also what shaped me. I learned the hard way to never give up. And I promised myself to never cut myself slack or become lazy. I am curious to the bone, and I want to know what there is to know within my field.”
Encouraged by some of her customers, she continued her studies to become an electrical installer. Maternity leave was not accepted at the school, so within just two weeks, she was back in the classroom – this time with her son by her side.
Always have the customer at heart
Bente has climbed many mountains during her career; a career that covers both continued studies, technical support and a job as a sales rep. Her career path has taken her to Solar on two occasions, and when she returned to Solar in 2015, she joined the industry support team – a role that fits her like a glove. Both among customers and colleagues, she is known for her dedication to her work. A background in sales has made it extra apparent to her why it is crucial to always focus on our customers. “We want our customers to feel welcome when they get in touch with Solar. We make sure to give them our full attention, because that’s what they deserve.” Sometimes they ask the team something they don’t know here and now, but Bente just sees that as a challenge. She doesn’t stop before she knows the answer, because the customer needs it – and she learns from it.
Bente also really looks forward to the launch of Solar’s new web shop: “It is important that we are visible to our customers, and the new web shop will be a giant lift to our customers’ experience with us.”
A family of engineers
When Bente is at home, she is still an engineer. Her engineer husband is just as curious on technicalities as she is, and their engineer son loves to join in on the fun. Perhaps that’s why she is a natural when it comes to inspiring the local 8th graders when they visit Solar to see examples of where electrical training can take them.