Long-time Green Mountain employee reflects on Father’s Day

A perfect Father’s Day for Tony Napolillo would combine his two biggest passions: family and the outdoors.

“I would be camping in a cool climate in the mountains with a nice breakfast made on a stove,” he said. “And a nice hike and a swim with my boys.”

Napolillo, a Green Mountain employee since 2003, has three sons with his wife, Martha: Adam, 6, Jake, 4, and Noah, 2. There’s rarely a dull moment in their household raising three growing boys full of exuberance.

“It’s really the hardest job anyone could have,” Napolillo said. “Yet I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

Since 2006, he has managed the Sun Club, a one-of-a-kind program that uses customer and employee donations to fund solar installations for deserving non-profits. There have been nearly 50 donations, and Napolillo has been directly involved in 40 of them.

His passion for his job often bleeds into his personal life. His wedding was on Earth Day in 2006, and he frequently brings his family to Sun Club dedications.

Green Mountain employee Tony Napolillo

“I can’t go anywhere else and do what I love doing and have a big impact at the end of the day,” he said of his role at Green Mountain. “We’re realizing the power of crowd funding. We are taking thousands of small donations from customers and making a big impact that one customer couldn’t do on their own. That’s the uniqueness of it.”

His work responsibilities are significant. But they don’t compare to his job at home, he says.

“What I teach (my boys) and through my example is the type of men they’re going to be,” he said. “So I want to raise them to be good stewards of their community, of each other, of people, of this environment. I want them to know that they’re part of something bigger.

“Through my work, I can talk to them about the environment on a very basic level.”

Earlier this year, he dressed in costume as “Super Earth,” the Green Mountain mascot, to speak to Adam’s kindergarten class about protecting the environment. Wearing a turbine hat and puffy globe outfit, he went through a lesson plan and realized that the kids, indeed, are alright.

“It amazed me how much already at kindergarten these kids know about the environment,” he said. “I had a list of things they could do to protect the earth, and these kids were naming them off. Turning off water, turning off lights, picking up trash.”

At home, Napolillo’s children have received a thorough education in sustainability. The boys already know the difference between trash and recycling. They’re conscious to turn off the faucet while they brush their teeth, and during camping trips they follow a simple Boy Scouts axiom.

“We always leave the campsite cleaner than when we found it,” Napolillo said. “At the end of the camping trip when we’re packing up, we have our little clean up and we go pick up every little piece of trash we can find. And for little kids, they like that. It’s amazing when they’re even at a very young age, two years old, they want to be helpful. And they want to know that they’re doing good. They’re very excited about that.”

As for Father’s Day, Napolillo doesn’t plan to make a trek to the mountains this year. He doesn’t need anything extraordinary to have a good day. In fact, returning from work on a daily basis is exciting enough.

“It’s nice that it’s one day for fathers to be recognized,” Napolillo said. “But every day I come home, my kids run to me. It’s the best part of my day. All three of them just scream and run into my arms, and they’re empty arms. It’s not like I’m carrying something to give them. That’s really a wonderful feeling that someone is that excited to see you.”

To learn more about the Green Mountain Sun Club, visit GMSunClub.com