When Tragedy Brings You Home and Giving Back Becomes a Form of Therapy.
Brittani Smouse is a scholar working on her fourth degree and is a Customer Account Specialist II at West Penn Power.
Are you from Pittsburgh? Have you ever lived anywhere else?
I am from a small town just south of Pittsburgh. Though I enjoy traveling, this is the only place I ever called home.
Why did you choose to make Southwest PA your home?
This is where I was born and raised, and as much as I touted that I was going to graduate college, move away, and never come back, there is a certain charm about this area that is irreplaceable.
Tell us a little about your family.
I come from a fun-loving, easy-going household with a stay-at-home mother, and my father who works as an airplane/helicopter mechanic. I am the youngest of three with an older sister, a veterinarian technician who is still local as well, and an older brother that passed away five years ago.
How did you choose the career you’re in today?
When my brother passed away, I was working over an hour away from home as a Geologist at an engineering consulting firm, typically without cell phone service for the majority of the day. After receiving that call, trying to make it home seemed like an eternity. Shortly after, I began looking for a job closer to home. I was lucky enough to find a position within the engineering services department at the power company. I moved around through a couple different positions before I found the group I am with now. While not the most up-beat story, the silver lining is my new passion for the power system that I never would have found otherwise. I could not be happier with my current career path.
What do you love most about your job?
I love being able to help industrial customers with their projects and issues, while constantly learning about the complexities of the power system.
What is something people might not know about you?
I currently hold three degrees, AAS in Early Childhood Education, a B.S. in Geology and an MBA in Business Management. I’m also currently working on my fourth – a B.S. in Electrical Engineering. I love the challenge of learning new things.
What is your favorite book or TV show and why?
A book I am currently reading is Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin. This massive book walks through Lincoln’s life and the lives of those closest to him. There is a focus on his political genius and how his cabinet, which consisted of rivals from the presidential election, were able to set aside their differences and guide America through the Civil War. I enjoy American history and understanding the key events that lead this country to be where we are today.
What are some of your hobbies or favorite things to do outside of work?
Aside from training for various races, 5Ks to half-marathons, I have a 2-year-old English Mastiff, Zoey, who I enjoy spending time with, walking and playing soccer in our backyard.
Why do you think it’s so important to give back to your community?
Making a positive impact can significantly help the lives of those less fortunate. Building community creates a sense of pride and positivity that can be spread onto others. The more that’s spread, the better we can build and support one another.
Why do you volunteer with United Way?
I value the organization’s mission and positive impact on our local communities.
What is your favorite United Way memory?
Overall, the heartfelt gratitude expressed from those in need during volunteering events. The humbling appreciation makes me feel like I made a difference, even if it’s only for that one person on that one day.