While serving in mass communications with the U.S. Navy, Justice Powell saw a need for graphic design. She decided to fulfill that need and navigated herself through basic training of the Adobe design software.

That self-motivation and drive landed her a role as a member service representative with Rappahannock Electric Cooperative in Fredericksburg, Va., following her four years of military service.

Seven short months later, Powell began serving her co-op as a graphics production specialist in the Communications and Public Relations Department. She may not have received any formal training for her current role during her time with the Navy, but she says, “My role in mass communications was extensive. It included developing print and digital multimedia for the naval base, research and identifying ways to expand our communication efforts and assisting and working with the public affairs officer.”

Her role today includes designing collateral such as bill inserts, social media graphics, advertisements and REC’s pages in Cooperative Living. “REC has refined my design skills and challenged me to think in new and different ways about graphic design and communications,” she says.

She’s also added photography to her skillset and is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in graphic design at Full Sail University.

Powell knew very little, if anything, about electric cooperatives prior to joining at REC. She admits she was surprised to learn that working for a co-op isn’t just about providing electricity, but also serving the community. As expected from a veteran, Powell most enjoys the camaraderie at her co-op.

She says the culture of the co-op is family and community. “It brings me joy to know that I am part of something that makes a difference in real people’s lives every day.”