Q&A with Barb Rife, our GIS Engineering Technician with a fascinating background

Tell us about your home and family:

I was born and lived in Paulding all my life (other than college years). I’ve been married to my husband, Fritz Koch, for 21 years. We raised two children (one daughter and one son) from Fritz’s previous marriage. Ashley is now 34 and married to Matt McDougal from Antwerp. She is the Emergency Coordinator for the Village of Antwerp and co-owner of McDougal Fire Arms in Antwerp. Derek is 30 and married to Marie Gilman. He is a deputy sheriff for Franklin County, Ohio. They live in Columbus and attend all Ohio State sporting events. GO BUCKEYES!

Why did you want to work at PPEC?

Living in Paulding, I knew many people who have worked or were members of PPEC. They always had a positive experience when talking about the co-op. I knew some great people who worked here and jumped at the chance to be part of this.

When was your start date with PPEC? February 12, 2020
What are your tasks and responsibilities here?

My job title is GIS Engineering Technician, which is a long term for mapping of the various components on the PPEC electrical grid. This provides our linemen, member service and dispatch the correct information to perform their jobs safely and efficiently. This helps to reduce potential electrical outages for our members and provides identification to potential problems on the transmission and distribution power lines.

Tell us a bit about your background:

I went to college at Bowling Green State University and graduated with a degree in geology and a minor in chemistry. I began working at Systech/ Lafarge in 1984 as a chemist. I received my masters degree in Environmental Engineering from the University of Findlay. I then worked in various factories as a Manufacturing Engineer and Environmental Engineer throughout Northwest Ohio for the next 35 years. I enjoyed the work but was getting burned out with the pressures and travel required for the position. So I was looking for something closer to home. That’s when PPEC had this opening!

What are some of your hobbies and interests?

I am currently a councilwoman for the Village of Paulding. I am completing my forth term on Council. My father was Mayor of Paulding in the 1970’s- 1980 and always thought it would be interesting to continue the legacy. I have enjoyed it very much and am proud that I was part of improvements to my community. Council requires many after-hours meetings at least once or twice a week. So it doesn’t allow me many free hours. However, I do enjoy local history and genealogy. I am currently tracing my family roots back to determine if my ancestors came over on the Mayflower!

Any fun facts about yourself?

I have been a numismatist (coin collector) since I was a teenager. I am currently acquiring currency from every country in the world from friends and family who have traveled.

What’s something few people know about you?

I dabble in taphophilia (look it up).

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