My name is Michaela Cox and for the past two summers I have been a Marketing and Member Services Intern at Orange County REMC. As an incoming senior at Ball State University, where I am majoring in Marketing and minoring in Economics, today is my last day working at the cooperative before I go back to college.
Some of my duties have been writing articles, making graphics and other content for the REMC and Fiber Facebook pages, creating promotional materials (such as flyers and emails) to send out to members, and assisting the member service representatives at the front desk. One of my favorite things about working for the cooperative has been the wide variety of tasks that I was enlisted to help with. Every day at Orange County REMC was different than the last. One of my most common tasks was to write articles. This past summer I have spent hours researching about technologies and services that the cooperative offers to members in order to write articles, and I know far too much about heat pump water heaters for a 21 year old college student (click here to learn more about Orange County REMC’s rebate program that can assist you in purchasing one of these units! Heat pump water heaters save you money in the long run as the appliances don’t create heat, they simply transfer it!). Writing is something that I have always enjoyed, and being able to keep writing over my summer vacation will come in very handy when I go back to college next week. Writing the assigned reports and papers for my classes won’t be difficult to return to since I’ve never taken a break from writing.
Another task that I loved being able to experiment with was making graphics. If you follow the Orange County REMC or Fiber Facebook pages, you’ve most likely seen some of my work. Working at an electric company isn’t an obvious choice for a marketing major. People have to have electricity and most likely only have one provider as an option, so why do they need marketed to? Orange County REMC offers a watt more than just electricity though (my boss, Mark Belcher, is sure to miss my electricity puns; they’re shockingly good!). Members have methods in which they can pay their bills and multiple different billing options, like variable budget billing and EZ Power Pay. The cooperative also offers services such as incentives and rebates towards the purchase of energy efficient appliances, free energy audits for members, instant rebates and free shipping on light bulbs, security systems through Orange County Security, and so much more. Through the creation of graphics, information about these programs was able to be shared quickly with cooperative members – hopefully in a way that encouraged them to click the attached link to gain additional information. Getting this information out to members allows them to save money and proves that Orange County REMC is more than an energy provider.
A cooperative is owned and operated by its members, and therefore should work in their best interests. For members of Orange County REMC, this means that the services offered go above and beyond providing power to rural Hoosiers.
Another cool process that I’ve been able to witness this past summer has been due to the construction and installation of Orange County Fiber. The four-year construction project of fiber lines and home installations is a big deal, and I have gained experience in public relations as well as in learning how to clearly transmit news and updates to members.
While it sounds like I’ve been drinking the Orange County REMC Kool-Aid, to be fair, they are the ones who have been providing me with a paycheck. The real truth though is that Orange County REMC has been very good to me and for me. I have been able to expand my skills, work with and learn from some of the best people, and I have learned what to look for in a future employer. When I graduate in the spring of 2020 from Ball State, I want to work for a business that I can be believe in, echoing the experience I’ve had at the cooperative. This has been a fantastic opportunity for me, and I am grateful to Orange County REMC and my fellow members for allowing me to grow through this internship. One of the 7 Cooperative Principles that Orange County REMC follows is:
- Education, Training and Information: Cooperatives educate and train their members so they will continue to grow and improve. They also inform legislators and the public about the benefits and nature of cooperatives.
I have been employed through the first part of this cooperative principle and have worked throughout the past two summers to further the second. So, thank you to Orange County REMC, its employees and directors, and the members of the cooperative for allowing me this opportunity. It’s been enlightening.