Hobby: I am a second-generation Australian shepherd trainer. I have trained dogs in agility, disc, and tricks. Never for profit, but always for fun.

How did you get into that? Growing up, my mother did search and rescue with Australian shepherds. She also trained dogs for the Fish and Wildlife Service to detect animal smuggling.

What do you love most about dogs? Nothing compares to when they choose you. I got my first dog, Katie, when I was 11 years old. She became my partner in crime and was my heart and soul. She protected me fiercely while my husband was deployed.

How long does it take to train a dog? It depends on the dog, their personality, and what you’re training them to do. I was still teaching Katie new things after 10 years, so it can be a lifelong process if you want it to be. Some tricks can take dogs years to perfect, and others can take a week, depending on the dog and what training approach they need.

How many dogs do you have now? We have a Jack Russell/Yorkie mix named Gracie and an Australian shepherd named Gladys.

What were you doing before joining the co-op? I was a full-time stay-at-home mom and wife.

Why did you want to work at the co-op? I knew I wanted to work in customer service, because I genuinely enjoy solving problems and helping people. This job seemed like a perfect fit.

What do you like most about your job? The people. Everyone has been supportive and kind, and SMECO has done a great job of making me feel welcome.

Education: I attended the College of Southern Maryland, where I met my husband. We just celebrated our nine-year wedding anniversary.

One random fact about you: I am the only one in my immediate family who wasn’t born in Texas.

Know someone who could be profiled in New Employee Spotlight? Contact Megan McAtee at megan.mcatee@nreca.coop or 703-907-6105.