When working on a solar project in the mud and heat of South Texas, it’s much better to be teamed up with someone who shares your work ethic and communication style. That’s what skilled workers Trent Magnum, 37, and Jacob Lujan, 25, realized when they first started working together. “We got along right off the bat. He’s a cool dude and he works hard,” says Jacob.

 “Me and him have a good friendship,” says Trent. “It’s very easy to communicate.”

Though Trent and Jacob do a little bit of everything on the solar project in Bay City, Texas, many aspects of the job require two people. “We’ve got a big bolt and big wrenches to tie it down,” says Jacob. 

Not only does communication make for a smoother day on the job, but a safer one, too. That’s because they’re often battling the elements. “It’s real dangerous out there, and you have to watch out for your surroundings,” says Jacob.

Trent and Jacob have been working on the solar project through Workrise for about 8 to 10 months. Neither had solar experience in the past, but both are excited to get into the field and learn the ropes.

Honestly, I like the experience because I’m learning a lot of things. I want to do it for a few years, then I want to get my own business started in Phoenix. Jacob — Solar Installer

Trent says he’s enjoyed the process of learning from the ground up. He previously worked as a recruiter for Houston Community College for 15 years. “Most places I go, they like me and keep me around for a while, but there’s just no money in education.”

Furthering his knowledge of the solar industry, and eventually working his way up to become a manager, is Trent’s long-term goal. “I already see this as a great opportunity for me to grow and provide for my family,” he says. 

Trent and Jacob have one very important thing in common which motivates their hard work: their daughters. When Jacob’s one-month old daughter Janelle was born, Trent, whose daughter Paisley is 6, picked up the phone. “I called him and told him, ‘Look, man, get some sleep when you can!’”

Even though Trent and Jacob’s careers may go in slightly different directions, they value the experience of working together. “We’re kind of like a family now,” Trent says.