Meet Your Co-op: Leaves, salsa, popcorn... she does it all
From raking leaves to providing delicious homemade salsa, Erin Dowers, building and grounds maintenance, takes on a full scope of job duties for the San Luis Valley REC. Hitting her 18-year mark in December, Erin’s tasks have grown and changed over the years with the advancement of the REC.
Erin came to the San Luis Valley from Oregon 20 years ago with a friend to help build a house. She then managed a hardware store’s rental department in Monte Vista before joining the REC.
Over the years Erin has watched the “tiny electric cooperative” transform into the 53-employee coop it is today. Additional outbuildings and much more square footage has come with the progression, adding to her daily job description. Not to mention, the trees on the grounds have grown immensely; gathering leaves for the seventh time this fall has Erin ready to move onto the next season.
“I check the weather daily, because it dictates what I do. Like today, I’ve got to get the leaves up before the storm comes in,” she said. No day is ever quite the same— she could be adjusting a garage door, waxing floors, changing out light bulbs or even popping kernels for “Popcorn Thursday.”
Honoring employee requests are a part of what Erin does best, hence the ice-maker with “Sonic ice” in the breakroom. “Everyone has their little quirks,” she said. Whether it’s finding an employee a different chair, rearranging an office or adding paint to the walls, Erin does her best to oblige.
She said, “there’s always plenty to keep me busy.” Erin is thankful for Eileen who comes in twice a week to assist her and to Glen who helps with “lots of stuff.”
Erin’s helpful, giving nature is appreciated by employees and members alike.
One thing that always seems to bring a smile to her face is her sidekick Sophie. The nearly six-year-old long haired chihuahua can often be seen strolling the REC halls during holiday celebrations. “She’s kind of like the REC mascot.”
Sophie was rescued from the Conour Animal Shelter when she was five months old and has become a fixture in Erin’s life ever since.
Retirement is on the horizon for Erin; she plans to hang it up in five years and head back to Oregon. There her brothers have promised to build her a house, and she can spend her days walking on the beach with Sophie by her side instead of raking leaves for the eighth time.