Meet the New Faces at Your Local PUD

Beth Schroder

Senior Financial Analyst Beth Schroder is familiar with public power, arriving at Northern Wasco County PUD after spending 7 years at Klickitat PUD in Goldendale. Photo by Brandon Johnson

They say if you want to get something done, give it to a busy person. One of those busy people is Beth Schroder, who joined Northern Wasco County PUD as a senior financial analyst on June 28.

Beth was born and raised in Goldendale. She brings a varied background to her job, including working at the Goldendale Sentinel for a decade.

After leaving the Sentinel, Beth returned to school and got a degree in accounting and her CPA license. That led to a job with Klickitat PUD for seven years, where she was an accountant. She was also often called on to use her editorial skills in various news releases and other materials.

Beth says she enjoyed her time at Klickitat PUD.

“One of my closest friends still works at Klickitat PUD,” she says. “We’d go on drives, and he’d show me the distribution lines and the transmission lines and how to tell the difference. I learned a lot about the system at Klickitat, so I’m excited to learn about the system at Northern Wasco. It helps you do your job
better when you have a feel for what you’re actually working for. I’m excited for that, and learning new things to expand my skill set and my knowledge base.”

As a senior financial analyst, Beth is in charge of the month-end process and helps prepare the financials that are presented to the board.

“My main focus is on doing the financials and making sure the information used to make those financials has been completed,” she says. “I’m also in charge of investments and a few other things we are exploring. There’s always a learning curve, even if you’ve done similar work.”

Another aspect of the work that appeals to Beth is not having to do the same things repeatedly.

“There are different types of transactions or questions that come up,” she says. “That’s one of the things I enjoy about it— not doing things by rote.”

Away from work, Beth enjoys cooking with friends and spending time with her family: husband Dennis, and their children, Garrett and Natalie.

“Garrett is 21 and is going to be attending college at Central Washington,” Beth says. “Natalie is 17 and is the Klickitat County Fair and Rodeo Queen. She and I have been kind of busy this summer traveling around to all the events and promoting our event. She also plays volleyball, so I follow her around with that.”

Beth says Natalie is a great deal like herself.

“I’ve always had a passion for horses,” Beth says.

Beth also helps with her husband’s family farm northeast of Goldendale. His family homesteaded the area in the late 1880s. They raise sheep for meat, and cultivate dryland alfalfa and sometimes wheat.

In her spare time, Beth is serving her second term on the Goldendale School District Board.

She says she loves going to work every day at the PUD.

“They are fabulous to work for, very helpful,” she says. “I appreciate all the learning opportunities.”

Karen Barrett

After working 26 years as a dental office manager, Financial Analyst Karen Barrett has found her niche at Northern Wasco County PUD.

Karen Barrett has worked at Northern Wasco County PUD for just a few months but says she already feels at home.

“I am very excited to be a part of the PUD family,” she says. “They are just wonderful people and treat their employees very well.”

Karen was hired as a financial analyst. She works on payroll and accounts payable.

Karen got married after graduating from The Dalles High School. Her husband, Jim, worked at the aluminum plant in town. When that job ended, he helped his parents, who owned Muirhead Canning Co. They ultimately sold the operation, and he now works at Cherry Heights Retirement’s assisted living community.

Meanwhile, Karen worked as dental office manager for Dr. Henry Vit and his successor, Dr. Tony Simon, for 26 years.

“I wasn’t necessarily looking. for work,” Karen says. “But the opportunity arose, and it just felt like a good time for me to make a change.”

Karen and Jim have raised three children, who Karen says are all doing well.

Their oldest, James, works for the Oregon Department of Transportation. Their daughter Jessica is a dental hygienist. Daughter Sarah is a registered nurse at Mid-Columbia Medical Center.

When not working, Karen says she enjoys spending time with her family, including three granddaughters.

“We like to do barbecues,” Karen says. “We love to watch football and we’re big Seahawks fans. Hopefully, we get back to normal this year, because last year we haven’t have the opportunity to be together like that. We just really like to spend a lot of time together.”

Karen and Jim enjoy fishing together.

“We like to fish for bass and then sometimes we’ll do salmon fishing,” Karen says. “We also like to go down to the beach once in a while and do some fishing down there, when the fish are running good.”

Karen is active in the community. She is the first female president of the Eagles Lodge and just started her fourth year.

“We do so much for our community,” she says. “We’re about people helping people, and I really enjoy being a part of it.”

Karen also likes to travel. In the years she worked for Dr. Vit, he treated the staff and their spouses to an annual trip.

“We got to see some wonderful places, including Bora Bora, Tahiti, where the waters were so beautiful, and the snorkeling was amazing,” she says.

For now, Karen says she looks forward to her future with the PUD.