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Internship program offers valuable work experience, new perspective about electric co-op

As another summer internship season comes to an end, the interns at Roanoke Electric Co-op walk away, not only with newfound job skills, but also a new perspective about the cooperative way of doing business.

While they expected to broaden their knowledge of on-the-job skills and responsibilities as part of the program, they said the lessons they learned about the co-op and its mission and values left the biggest impression.   

Torryan Lassiter

Tyrik Stephenson

“I had heard about the co-op before, but I didn’t know much about it before I started working here,” said Torryan Lassiter, 16. “I think it’s mission is pretty cool. I learned a lot about its history and how it all started… It’s a company that’s about the people, instead of a company that’s just out for profit.”

Roanoke Electric Co-op COO Marshall Cherry said the internship program is “a great example of how cooperatives support their communities through developing our next generation of leaders.”

Some of the high-impact projects the two of the four interns worked on this summer, included improving the onboarding process for new hires, developing employee engagement surveys, and improving control of the organization’s materials and inventory.

For Lassiter, who will be entering the 11th grade at C.S. Brown High School in Hertford County, this was his first job. His duties included a variety of administrative tasks and helping to set up for the upcoming annual meeting. 

“The hardest part was waking up early every morning, but it was worth it. Overall, it was a good experience. It gave me perspective on how it feels to get up and go to a job every day,” he recalled. “Now I have something I can bring to the table for my next job experience. And having a little money in my pocket doesn’t hurt either.”

Likewise, this was the first job experience for Tyrik Stephenson, 17. This coming fall semester, he will enter East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C., as a freshman.

“The most important thing I learned about was time management, waking up at the right time in the morning, knowing when to come in, getting back from breaks on time, and most importantly getting the work done on time,” he said.

Stephenson said he never thought he would like an office job, but the internship was “a mind-opening” experience for him. “I really like having an inside job and having my own space. It was a very positive environment,” he said. “It feels like you’re around family here. The Roanoke family cares about each individual who is part of the staff.”

Equally impressive, he said, was what he learned about the co-op’s business model. “They really try to have a very personal relationship with the member-owners,” he noted. “They go out of their way to make sure they get the best for their money and save money. Like the program they offer to help members upgrade their homes to be more energy efficient... They really look out for them.”

As his last day on the job came to an end, Stephenson admitted that he was “kind of sad.”

“I enjoyed being here,” he explained. “Hopefully, I can come back on my breaks and continue to help out.”

News and Events

October 30, 2017

With the co-op’s mobile app, member-owners can monitor their daily energy usage and make better informed decisions to save money on their electric bills. 

October 27, 2017

U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, Greenville, SC

GREENVILLE, SC - Enviva Holdings, LP today announced a $45,000 grant to support African American land retention and healthy forests in northeastern North Carolina.  The grant to the Sustainable Forestry Program of the Roanoke Center—a nonprofit affiliate of the Roanoke Electric Cooperative headquartered in Ahoskie, North Carolina—deepens the existing partnership between Enviva, the Roanoke Center, and the U. S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment).  That program serves forest owners in seven counties in the Cooperative’s service region and near two of Enviva’s wood pellet facilities.

October 17, 2017

Roanoke Electric Co-op is offering water heater control devices. Which boost energy efficiency and savings, free to member-owners.

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