• Communications Coordinator
  • Paulding Putnam Electric Cooperative, Paulding, Ohio
  • Co-op employee since 2018
  • Birthplace: Bullhead City, Arizona

Hobby: Mountain climbing and hiking 

How did you get into mountain climbing? I climbed Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park when I was 8 years old. I vividly remember clutching a chain railing at the 5,790-foot summit and thinking, “This is crazy!” 

How often do you go hiking/climbing? My husband and I try to hike a few bucket-list destinations every year. But every place has its own hidden gems, and I’ve found quite a few in my own tri-state backyard too. 

What is one your most memorable trips? I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro (19,341-foot elevation) in Tanzania, Africa, with my dad and stepmom to raise funds for the NRECA International Foundation. It took us eight days, but we raised more than $40,000. It was the most unbelievable, transformative thing I’ve ever done in my life (right after deciding to get married, that is). 

How did you prepare for Kilimanjaro? Everyone at the gym was staring at me because I had the treadmill set to the highest incline, I was wearing my hiking boots, and I had a 15-pound pack on my shoulders to build strength. 

What’s on your bucket list? We’re going to Iceland this year to explore Snaefellsjokull National Park and stratovolcano and then to Japan to hike in Kyoto. I’d really like to visit Machu Picchu and the Scotland Highlands some day and go back to Angel’s Landing with my husband. 

What did you do before you came to Paulding Putnam? I worked in Columbus, Ohio, as an associate editor for Ohio Cooperative Living magazine. 

What do you enjoy most about your job? I’m blessed to work for four electric co-ops and a propane subsidiary. I manage their social channels, design marketing materials, and write magazine features that showcase our incredible members, passionate employees, and local pride. 

Education: Bachelor of Arts in communications with an emphasis in journalism from the University of Toledo in Ohio. 

Favorite quote: “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.”—Randy Pausch 

What do you like to do when you’re not climbing a mountain? When I’m not exploring, I’m drinking coffee and brainstorming new ideas with my three cats. 

You can follow Samantha’s adventures on her blog at www.BornInDefiance.com or on Facebook and Instagram @BornInDefiance

Do you have a colleague we should get to know better? There are only three requirements to share their story: They have been at your co-op one year or less. They have never worked at an electric co-op before. They have an interesting hobby (i.e., fly fishing, bee keeping, small business owner, fitness/outdoor enthusiast, singing or playing in a band – the sky's the limit!) 

If you or one of your colleagues meet these requirements, we'd love to hear from you. Please send nominations to megan.mcatee@nreca.coop. Interested in joining the co-op family? Visit NRECA's Cooperative Career Center to search co-op careers.