When we say we care about the environment at ADT Solar, that’s not just a corporate stance. Many of our employees care deeply about climate change and are on the lookout for ways to reduce their impact on the environment.

Graphic Designer Shae Thomas had us install a system years before she came on board. The work she does as part of the ADT Solar family is just one part of her efforts on climate, though. She has a sweet side project, too.

Here’s what we found out about Shae when we asked her about solar and her hobbies.

I understand you were an ADT Solar customer before you started working as an ADT Solar employee. Why did you choose ADT to install your solar energy system?

I’m always interested in all things green, so I was considering getting solar panels as way to help offset my electricity use at home. A friend of mine called me up one day raving about her panels and how great the experience was. She remembered that I was interested in getting some when I bought my house. She told me about ADT Solar (Sunpro Solar at the time) and that they did free consultations and that I should consider them. I had previously heard tales of terrible solar companies that eventually were sued or misled the client. I was interested in finding a company that had a better track record and ADT Solar fit the bill for options and experience.

Shae taking a selfie with her home in the background

How did that evolve into working for ADT Solar?

When the pandemic hit, I was looking for a new design job. For me, I don’t like just working at a job. I want to work for a company that does something I like, as well. One evening I got a job alert that ADT Solar was looking for graphic designers and I thought, “My solar panel people are hiring graphic designers!?” I would get to do design work for something I believe in — going green and going solar.

As someone who cares deeply about climate issues, what does it mean to you to have solar panels on your home?

I think whenever we’re thinking about the problems of today, there’s a chance of feeling overwhelmed. I know that for me, I’m always concerned I’m not making enough of an impact. But the truth is that if we all do what each of us is capable of, that is just the change we’re looking for.

I can’t change the power grid. I can’t fix the planet. But I can do a few things. Taking care of bees, reducing my electrical use on the grid and going solar were some of the options that suited me.

Shae holding beehive

Tell us about your beekeeping hobby.

I rely on my honeybees to keep my focus in the right place. All the changes in climate and chemicals show up in their world. They are fantastic indicators of environmental change. The funny thing is, I was called to beekeeping by how bees run their buzzy little worlds. They are always working to help the next bee that comes after them. They each produce about 1/12 a teaspoon of honey that adds to the eventual surplus of food stores for the rainy day or winter season when they can’t forge for food. But with each of them doing their part, the hive survives.

bees on a beehive

How did you get into beekeeping?

I officially became a beekeeper in 2015. I started off with just one hive. Then I added a second. It’s funny because everyone immediately thinks of honey when you say bees. I didn’t even use honey until after I started beekeeping! I found I absolutely loved it in tea and my girls work so hard to make it.

Over time I decided I wanted to do more with these amazing buzzers. So I started a beekeeping program called “What It Bees Like” in New Orleans that I started during the pandemic to have people help “host” beehives on properties they manage. I’m now working with about 50 hives in and around the greater New Orleans area, with lots of hosts applications pending for the next spring season for more expansion. We have community gardens, backyards and vacant properties that all help host locations for beehives to stay year-round all throughout the area. It’s been amazing to see how the bees tackle their day-to-day in different areas. And, whether you like it or not, they really make you look at the world and everything in it differently.

Shae taking a selfie in a bee suit

Why is it so important to have bees in an urban environment like New Orleans?

I think keeping bees in urban areas is important for multiple reasons. We need to make sure that no matter how urban and tech savvy we evolve to be, we still exist in and need nature. If we can sustain a culture and society that can coexist with little environmental indicators like bees, I feel like we’re keeping the balance. We need to know and understand our impact in every part of this world, urban and rural. Here in New Orleans, we have a great climate for bees to do their work. I’d love to see our bee populations growing and thriving over the next few decades because it means we’re doing something right.