From Call Centers to Harleys: Michelle Fairbrother’s Story

From Call Centers to Harleys: Michelle Fairbrother’s Story

Michele Fairbrother

Michelle at work in the Member Solutions call center.

Michelle Fairbrother is a people person. That’s one of the first things she would tell you. That’s a pretty good fit for someone who is part of the backbone of our Member Solutions team.

If you’ve ever called to discuss your electric service, there’s a good shot that on the other end, you may have gotten Michelle, who has worked at the Co-op for 28 years. Did she see that coming?

“Never. Hopeful but never,” said Michelle who has worked in previous shades of customer service in previous lives as a property manager who juggled some 600 condominiums for three associations in Lincoln, a gift shop manager and a bank teller.

She was drawn to the Co-op at a time when she was looking for a good opportunity. Known for its reputation for longevity, pay and benefits, Michelle took the advice of her four friends who worked here and applied for the opening. Her get it done attitude and her friend’s positive recommendations to Guy Ford, then the hiring manager, got her the offer. “And,” she said, “I walked in the door at the right time.”

Former President and CEO Fred Anderson presenting Michelle with the Carol A. Tracey award.

In 2005, her then supervisor Clint Hutchins, nominated her for the Carol A. Tracey award which she received, honoring her for “Excellence in Customer Service.”

All of her service work continues to inform her work today. “NHEC has given me the tools I need and the power to make  decisions on my own,” Michelle said.

She enjoys helping people. “I love it when a member calls and says ‘I asked for you’.”

Michelle and her husband Bruce, her high school sweetheart who were matched up later in life by his daughter, have a combined family of nine children, and one great granddaughter. “I’ve lost count of the grandchildren,” she laughed.

For all of her family and friends, Michelle said people might be surprised because she does a lot of things on her own. “I don’t wait for people,” said the breast cancer survivor.

Sometimes, she takes to the road on her 2005 Harley Heritage Soft Tail, which she had been eyeing during the last year of her treatment in 2018. “It was screaming, ‘Blub, blub, blub, BUY ME’.”

And so she did.

Michelle and her prized Harley taking to the road.