Having a sense of adventure might not immediately come to mind as an attribute one should have working for an electric utility.
But it’s a pretty good one if you aren’t tasked with touching thousands of volts of electricity, and that’s the case for Emily Reitz, a field engineering representative with Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative in Rockingham, Va.
“You get to interact with a lot of different people, see new places, go on a lot of back roads you may not have even been down before. You get exposed to the county you live in. It’s adventure all around,” she says.
As a field engineer, Reitz is a member’s primary point of contact from the start to the finish of a job. The project could be connecting a new service, moving a line or any other electricity need of the member.
“It’s rewarding to see a line or a pole being put up after I designed that job, and seeing the completion of the work, knowing I played a part in getting someone electricity to their house,” Reitz says.
She encourages anyone interested in a co-op career to realize there’s a place for everyone. A Bridgewater College graduate, Reitz studied information technology, starting at SVEC in March 2019 as a PC technician, her second job out of school.
She accepted her new role as a field engineer in fall 2021 and the adventure began.
“Go after your dreams. Believe in yourself. Be comfortable with being uncomfortable,” Reitz says. “Switching to this position from being in IT, I was a little bit intimidated with thoughts of, ‘Can I do it? Will I succeed?’ Once I got into the position, I realized this is a good move. You have to push yourself to see what your limits are and push those limits.”