In this month’s employee spotlight, we chat with Samantha LaPlante, who has been working at Elm in some capacity since she was just 15 years old!

Q: How long have you been working at Elm? 

A: In 2016, I started working here when I was 15 turning 16. I’ve been working for Elm for eight years! Four years were part time while at school and during the summer, then four years after graduation.

Q: How did you get your start here? 

A: I went to Westfield Technical Academy High School for construction. I was going to go for electrical, but my dad actually works here, Chris LaPlante. So I thought I would learn about two trades since I planned on applying for Elm. When I got the job, I started out in the warehouse cleaning and organizing parts for about a year. Then for two years I worked in the panel shop, where I wired up panels and learned how to read blueprints to wire things correctly. At the end of my junior year of high school, I moved to the pre-fab shop where I currently work now with my dad. 

Q: Can you tell us a little bit about your role?

A: My role working here at pre-fab is to build things for the workers out in the field so they don’t have to do it out there with the weather conditions. It also makes it a much faster process for us to get jobs done. I’ve done jobs where I had to do things from rolling wire on spools, to welding, to building shelves and tables for the shop and trailers.

Q: What are some things you enjoy most about working here? 

A: Some things I enjoy most are the family-friendly people and atmosphere. Even though we are at work, the people we work with I feel makes the day better with all the weird and crazy personalities we have! 

Q: What has been your most rewarding experience here?

A: The most rewarding experience I’ve had has been working with my dad. Even though we get on each other’s nerves at times, we still have fun! I also just finished my 4-year classes at Elm University thanks to Paul and Matt! I am getting ready to take the test! Wish me luck!

Q: What do you like to do when you’re not working? 

A: When I’m not here I go to my second job working in childcare at the YMCA in summer and after-school programs. Kids have always been a part of my life. My mom ran an at-home daycare since I was about 8. She now works with me at the YMCA, but in preschool. When I have free time I love to travel. I recently went to Alaska for 14 days — seven days on land seven days at sea. I have been on about seven or eight cruises since I was 5.

I love spending time with my family and friends, as well as animals. I just got a puppy. His name is Dexter (Dex). He’s a white golden retriever and is very clumsy. Dex shares the house with two cats — Misty who’s very sassy — and Timmy who’s a little on the handicapped side and walks in circles. He was born with his head facing his butt and wasn’t supposed to live for even a week after he was born but, 15 years later he’s still kicking! Then there’s my hamster, Toast. She loves running on her wheel when I’m trying to sleep. My boyfriend also has two huskies named Toby and Larry. They are the most rambunctious boys ever and they love to talk.  

Q: Do you have a particular hobby or talent that co-workers may not know about?

A: The hobbies or talents I have that people might not know are that I’m very creative. I love to draw and do crafts. I’ve been drawing since I was 3. People still ask me how I draw and color the way I do and I have no clue how to do it. Another hobby I have is saving animals. I find who I feel needs help. I’ve helped birds, squirrels, and bugs… Even though they creep me out.