Cary Hayes is a solar industry veteran with nearly two decades of sales and business development experience. But his journey was anything but typical. From Ski Bum to Investment Banker, to Tree Climber and finally to Solar with REC Solar. He exudes fun and confidence while remaining among the most fiercely competitive people I know — and has excellent practical advice to share in today’s Tactical Tuesday.  This is an excerpt from one of our most-downloaded episodes of 2022, and one of the episodes that got the most comments on Linkedin.

Cary’s spent the past six years leading REC Americas, the California-based North American division of REC Group, a leading European brand for solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. 

He was part of the team that first brought Norway-based REC Group to the US market in 2008, helping to fuel its global growth. In 2014, he left REC Solar (now owned by Duke Energy) to work as a vice president at Pristine Sun and Clean Focus before accepting a top role at REC Americas. He’s also a former board member of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), a national trade association.


I’ve known Cary since 2012, when I worked at Trina Solar. He’s a strong leader and a really nice guy — a former Colorado ski bum who kicked off his career when he decided he needed to “get a real job.”

Today I’m resharing a snippet of an interview with Cary from 2022. It highlights the importance of navigating your own route, even when it veers through an off-the-beaten-path ski town. His story is emblematic of so many in solar, but know that I share it here to inspire you: carve your own path, tell your own story. 

You’ll hear how Cary overcame a less-than-linear resume to land a consulting job at Smith Barney (now Morgan Stanley Wealth Management) and why he walked away from it to help green the planet. As I say in the interview, his story, my story, they are not your story, but your story is worth telling so go do something worth talking about!

Remember, every decision you make — wherever you’ve been —  prepares you for what comes next. Decide today to listen to this podcast. It’s not long and full of memorable thoughts.