Salvador founded RETI when she realized energy poverty was closer to home than she ever realized. A Charlotte native, Salvador was visiting her grandmother (who doesn’t live far from Hygge West) one day, when she heard her grandmother’s neighbors talking about how hard it was to keep their home warm in the winter. They relied on a space heater which wasn’t a sustainable, efficient, or safe solution. Salvador, a life-long learner, started to research only to find there wasn’t a lot education or assistance available for families like her grandmother’s neighbors. There was short-term, perhaps a month’s worth of help, available – but nothing to support a family for the long-term in an efficient way.
Salvador, who holds a degree in Economics (and a minor in Anthropology) from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and worked previously in economic development for the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce saw an opportunity to create a sustainable solution.
“It was scary because it was such a new challenge for me, but I just jumped all the way into it,” she says with a sweet, honest laugh as she talks about how she formed RETI. And she’s not kidding.
She formed the organization and applied to Charlotte’s SEED20 in September 2013 – all while breastfeeding her first child. By the next March, she was a member of SEED20’s Class of 2014.
RETI continues to grow – in impact, engagement, and partnership. “We’re approaching this every day with the mission to help change the lives of those we interact with,” she says. “And we do a good job managing different types of partnerships – from Duke Energy to Greenpeace; my goal is for them to feel comfortable in our approach and what we’re trying to accomplish.”
Early education and community engagement continue to serve as two strong initiatives; RETI has organized workshops for all ages with groups including the Boys and Girls Club, the Girl Scouts, and STEM education organizations.