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The road taken

While attending Purdue University’s construction management program, Josh Durbin envisioned a dream job of building log homes in the Rocky Mountains, far from where he grew up in Steuben County.

After college in 2008, he was offered a job in the mountains. But that was right in the middle of the Great Recession. “I had fears of moving 2,000 miles away from home and being without a job with the downturn of the economy,” Durbin recalled. “So, I decided to stay home and look locally.” And that decision — to take the more familiar road home — has made all the difference.

Today, he’s the director of member services at Steuben County REMC.

While growing up, Durbin said he knew of the REMC through a friend whose dad was a lineman and a family friend who is a director. When looking for an internship, one business stood out. “I saw ‘Tipmont REMC’ on the job board. I was like, ‘Hey, I know them.’ I knew enough to think it was going to be a hometown feel.”

As a student, Durbin worked three summers and partially through the year with Tipmont in drafting and engineering. It gave him a strong sense of the cooperative culture. Though Tipmont offered him a job upon graduation, he and his wife wanted to go home.

He took a job near Fort Wayne as a project manager for a mechanical contractor that kept him either behind a computer or traveling around the country. While he liked it, the office was an hour from home, and his wife had just given birth to their first child. “I was looking for a change. I wanted to be home and present for my family life.”

In 2012, a friend at Steuben County REMC let him know they were looking for an energy advisor. “I knew these people live and breathe our community. And that’s ultimately what I wanted,” he recalled.

Durbin received more education and certification as an energy analyst once at the co-op. In 2018, he was promoted to his current position, which still has him advising on energy and puts him in charge of load management programs and large key accounts. It also puts him in more public contact as a co-op representative.

“The beauty of what I do now is I’m involved with Junior Achievement. I’m in the schools, which I really enjoy. I’m on the local economic development board. The ‘community’ in this job allows me to do that. I didn’t think that was really me or was a necessity. But the deeper I get into it, the more I feel like I fit,” he said.

And that’s what keeps him coming back to work each day. It’s also the people he works with. “We’re a family of sorts. Everybody says that. But, when you work for a local company, that’s ultimately true. Our kids go to school together; I may have gone to school with some of the employees. It’s a small world in the sense that everybody in the community is tied together one way or another.”

2005-2007 Interned

Drafting/Engineering Intern

2012 Hired

Special Service Coordinator

2018 Promoted

Director of Member Services