Skip to main content Skip to main menu Skip to search box

Ever wondered what it’s like to be a technician working up in the turbines that generate our wind energy? There are nearly 10,000 wind energy jobs across Iowa, and experts at the American Wind Energy Association estimate this could triple over the next decade. Jason Gruszeczka is a wind technician who has helped keep our turbines safe and reliable for the last eight years. He currently serves as an Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Coordinator at our Carroll & Victory Wind Farms in Carroll, Iowa. We got the inside scoop from Jason about the thrills and challenges of wind tech life, and what it’s like to be at the top of a 300-foot wind turbine.


What made you want to become a wind technician?

Jason Gruszeczka standing next to the entry way to a wind turbine
Jason: When I first moved here, I was an assistant news director for a broadcasting station. I decided I wanted to stay here to start my family, and the benefits of working in wind were uncountable. It helps me and my family, and it really does a lot of good things for the community as well.

What are you responsible for as a wind tech?

Jason: When I first started in wind, I was a shadow to the other technicians, and as I got trained more and more, I’ve led myself up to an EHS Coordinator, which overlooks the safety of the site. My responsibilities as an EHS Coordinator range from making sure everyone has the right protective equipment to even the facility safety spill organization. Everything that would really pertain to avoiding an emergency situation.

What kinds of gear or equipment do you use to stay safe on the job?

Jason: We use a lot of gear. Just for climbing alone, we have fall-arrest systems, harnesses, hard hats, safety glasses, earplugs, and that’s just what I’m wearing on my body. When we get up there, we have escape packs and self-rescue kits that ensure that if something were to go wrong, we have a way of getting out of the tower or nacelle quite quickly. We actually do a really good job staying safe.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Jason: In the morning, it’s loading up the truck to your tower, figuring out “what am I doing for the day,” what is wrong with this tower, seeing if it needs replacement parts, or needs maintenance, and then head back, unload, and do it all over again. Every day has its challenges, and every day I learn new things, whether I can reference my schooling or one of my coworkers.

How do you know what to look for when you’re troubleshooting a wind turbine?

Jason Gruszeczka standing fixing a wind turbine
Jason: You really use all five senses. You could walk in and hear something that sounds off. Even the smell might smell burnt or not operating properly. When I first started working in wind, I was with guys who already had about five years’ experience. I watched those guys look at the computers in the shop and look at the turbines, and say “That needs a new contactor,” or “That one’s motor is bad,” and they could tell that just by looking at a number and a fault code. I told those guys “I want to get to that point.” So I stayed with it, and now I’m showing that knowledge to the newer technicians.

What’s the hardest part of your job?

Jason: The hardest part of my job is the climb. It wears you out, you know? When you pull up to a wind turbine, and you say “I have to fix something 300 feet in the air.” Getting up there is the challenge.

What’s it like climbing such tall heights doing this job?

Jason: Heights have never really bothered me. It’s a challenge to the job, though. When you’re up there, you’ve got fiberglass and steel under you, and under that is 300 feet to the ground. If you can come over that fear, you’ve got a good job.

After doing this for so long, is there anything about wind turbines that still amazes you?

Jason: The wind turbines amaze me every day. You go up there, and you have fantastic views every day. I’ve literally been up in a cloud. That was when the fog was really low, and it was just like, “Wow, I can’t see five feet in front of me.” Some of the other things are the challenges, or certain things I’m fixing every day. Once you get in there and you’re fixing these turbines, it’s like, “Wow, I made a difference.”
“The wind turbines amaze me every day. You go up there, and you have fantastic views every day. I’ve literally been up in a cloud."
- Jason Gruszeczka

What kind of person does it take to be a good wind technician?

Jason: All of us are hard workers. The difference in us all is we have different backgrounds, me being from news. I know guys who were plumbers, electricians and military. There’s a wide range of people, but we all share one common bond, and that is the wind turbine.

What’s the culture like for a team of wind technicians?

Jason: We really are a close-knit family here. Safety is the number one thing here. We all look out for each other so we go home safe to our families. If I didn’t work with these guys, my work wouldn’t be as enjoyable.

What have the landowners you’ve interacted with been like?

Jason Gruszeczka standing fixing a wind turbine
Jason: I don’t get to interact with them too much, but landowners are really friendly people. Their curiosity is amazing, and it’s amazing to see their knowledge of the wind turbines. It’s actually quite refreshing. They’ll offer up their own theories about what the problem might be with the turbine you’re inspecting. “Sounds like a motor’s going bad, you might want to check that out.”

What do you think people don’t understand about what you do?

Jason: It’s a tough job. It’s quite strenuous on your body, and it takes a lot of time, knowledge and skill. It’s definitely a craft, and over time you learn it. Safety is number one. Knowing that our landowners or other people might be looking on at what we might be doing, I would just like them to know that we’re being safe.

How do you feel about how much wind power has grown since you first became a wind tech?

Jason: I think wind power is doing a lot for these communities. It’s job creation, it’s the livelihood, but it’s also a sustainable energy source that will last. I think that’s the important thing. I believe it’s a benefit to local communities and it’s a benefit to the earth as a whole.

What does it mean to you to be part of the wind energy movement?

Jason: It means a lot. It means a lot because I have kids, and I look toward the future, a future where we have a clean environment. Using up all your resources can become catastrophic, and I kind of feel like I’m putting a halt to that.

What’s your absolute favorite part of the job?

Jason: I would have to say the sense of completion. The completion that I fixed something today. The feeling of completion that I’m working on a machine that’s really doing good for the whole planet.

You may also be interested in: