College of the Canyons Employer Interview

Gina Rodda

Principal of Gabel Energy

How It All Began

Gina Rodda is the founding Principal of Gabel Energy, an innovative energy consulting firm in Northern California which specializes in energy analyses and Title 24 Energy Code compliance for building projects. She is also a member and active mentor with the California Association of Building Energy Consultants (

Gina found her life’s work as an energy consultant by a lucky turn of events. A recession hit just as she was graduating from college and Gina applied to several companies but only one resulted in an interview. Even then, she wasn’t the company’s first choice to hire.  But when the first candidate turned down the opportunity, Gina was given a chance.  Gina considers this to be a turning point in her life. She got the job as the office manager for a mechanical engineering firm because she explained in the interview that she had previously worked in construction-related jobs and had helped her father in building their house. Her desire to learn everything about the company’s mechanical engineering and energy projects was apparent, and the owner taught her everything.

Lifelong Learning

Later in her career, Gina approached one of her colleagues who had extensive expertise with energy consulting and offered to work for free so she could learn from him and help to expand his business.  She quickly proved her worth and was hired by the company.  Later, when he became ill, she bought the business from him. Gina got into building energy code work in the 1990s just as it was moving from its start in 1978 through the more simplistic 80s to the onset of energy software which began addressing the increasing complexity. Gina says that energy work spoke to her soul. Today as she does outreach to students and other potential employee audiences, she says there are three things that you need to be successful in an energy career:

  1. A good sense of direction and space
  2. Be able to work out puzzles and look for solutions
  3. Can work well independently knowing when to ask for help.

Gina credits her success to employers and colleagues who were eager to share their expertise. She says early mentors Paul Larkin, Michael Gabel, and Doug Beaman, who helped to lead the development of the early energy code, with feeding her desire to learn. Gina emphasizes that energy is a career where you never stop learning. The technologies and regulations are constantly evolving, and the successful employee is proactive about keeping up with the latest information. In fact, although coursework or a degree related to energy, construction or architecture is helpful in the field of energy auditing, there are many successful workers who have degrees as diverse as special education and music, including Gina.


Today’s energy employers are desperate for good employees.  This is one of the reasons Gina runs the mentoring program for CABEC. Many of the original energy consultants are retiring., so Gina and her colleagues want to support curricula and train the trainer pathways at the community college level. For interested applicants, the pathway through the community colleges gives access to hands-on skills and sustainable employment in a relatively short timeframe, where many college degree programs deal in theory and years of study before the student can be employed. While there are places for both types of education, energy consulting can be a career right out of community college, especially for students who take advantage of mentoring and internship opportunities while in school.


Gina’s day to day work operates on three tracks: 1) energy consultant; 2) advocate for California energy compliance; and, 3) running a small company. One of the innovative ways that she has maintained a successful energy consulting company is to diversify. When building is slower (perhaps because of high interest rates), she and her employees work on educational materials such as compliance manuals, fact sheets, and trigger sheets supporting Energy Code Ace, a Statewide Codes & Standards program regulated by the CPUC. With the complexity of the evolving energy code, educational materials are needed. Her company also works with California utilities and the California Energy Commission on codes and standards. In addition to diversified work, her company operates in many different states and countries, including their work with Kerala, India to develop their own energy code. Gina is very proud that her company is unique in that they are often brought in at the time of schematic design and they follow projects through construction to final occupancy.

Career With Impact

Finally, Gina said she is passionate about her energy consulting work because of her children. She is concerned as to what the impacts of climate change will be on their future living environment. She found that energy consulting is a flexible job that gave her the time needed with her children as well as a fulfilling career that made an impact. She encourages students to explore the options for a career in energy so they too can make an impact in the future.