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Moving From the Bottom Up: Laura D. Plumb

by Tiffany Fair

W.H. Auden said, "Poetry makes nothing happen." Well, English does, as many Western Carolina graduates who majored in English can attest. Laura Plumb is one of them.

Chief media spokesperson

Plumb, now a manager of Corporate and Financial Communications at TECO Energy, a diversified energy-related holding company, took many paths to arrive at the position she now holds. She has served as chief media spokesperson at Tampa Electric Co, Director of University Relations at University of Tampa, and Manager of Public Relations in Belkview Biltmore Resort.

A typical day for Plumb is pretty busy. At any given minute she could get calls from local, state, or national media and answer most their inquiries. She often appears on television, is interviewed on radio or is quoted in the newspaper. Despite how reactive her job is, it is still satisfying. When asked to tell a story that illustrates what she finds the most satisfying about her job, she states: "As the lead media contact for a four billion dollar energy company, I'm often coaching top executives on what to say and how to relay messages to the press. The fact that they respect me and truly value my expert opinion is incredibly satisfying."

A great foundation

Western Carolina University has given Laura the academic, interpersonal, and writing skills to succeed at the top-notch public relations graduate school at the University of Florida. The faculty in the English Department were truly wonderful and gave her great confidence in herself. Plumb was inspired by how she loved school. That started at Western, but stays with her to this day.

Sources of pride

She is the most proud of finishing her M.B.A. in Marketing at the University of Tampa, of her academic achievements, and how much she has grown in her career, especially at TECO Energy. Plumb uses writing all the time, and states that it is a valuable skill that most people don't have. Laura writes news releases as well as the annual report to share holders and executive speeches. Writing is extremely important in her career.

Plumb advises English majors to have great writing samples before graduating and to consider related career fields. "An English degree gives you a wonderful broad base. Since graduating, I've seamlessly moved from technical writer to prior to community relations to advertising to media relations."

These profiles were created by the Karen Greenstone's English 303 class (spring 2009)
and edited for the web by Mary Adams's English 303 class (summer 2009).

Students in Mary Adams's English 303 class (fall 2009) wrote additional profiles.