Ontonagon REA is staffed by people who live and work in your community. They are a staff comprised of a dedicated team of employees that works for you, the members, striving to provide you with reliable and cost-effective power every day. We recently sat down with Customer Service Representative Fay Hauswirth to learn more about her and what her job entails.

Q: Please tell us about your background.
A: I was born in Hancock and moved to Ontonagon when I was a baby. I graduated from high school here. My parents owned the Ontonagon Herald newspaper for many years, and that is where I began working when I was 11 years. My first jobs were stapling raffle books together and cleaning the office. Eventually, I did proofreading, which proved to be beneficial when I had to write college papers. I went to college later in life and graduated with a four-year degree in administration at the age of 47. During that time, I also worked full time and, as a single mother, raised three children now ages 28, 25 and 24.

Q: What other kinds of jobs have you done during your lifetime?
A: I feel like I’ve done everything! I’ve waitressed, cooked, worked at a gas station, cleaned motels and worked at the paper mill. I am quite proficient with a chainsaw from working in the woods doing trail maintenance for the USFS under the YACC program. I also did fish shocking for the YACC.

Q: How did you end up working at Ontonagon County REA?
A: I found the job in the listings at Michigan Works and applied. I was hired, and I started working for Ontonagon REA in July 2014.

Q: What is the best part of your job?
A: I really enjoy interacting with all of the customers on a day to day basis. People are interesting, and everyone has a different background and history. Through the daily phone calls from customers, I feel like I have gotten to know many of our members. Sometimes I wish I could meet them so that I could put a friendly face with a name.

Q: Any memorable experiences?
A: It isn’t one experience but a combination of many. I find it rewarding to be able to help those customers that are experiencing difficulties and being able to work with them and put them in touch with local agencies that can provide them with assistance. This is especially true when a member has had service disconnected, and I can get it restored. And this is particularly rewarding and meaningful when I know there are children in the home.

Q: What about hobbies? What do you like to do when you’re not working?
A: I enjoy collecting beach glass, playing cards and board games and doing puzzles. I also like to spend time with family and friends. When I get the chance, I go camping in the summer.

You can find Fay behind the front counter at the local REA office in Ontonagon. Next time you are in be sure to introduce yourself so she can put a name with your friendly face.