I grew up in a tobacco region, came from a tobacco growing family and wanted to continue in tobacco employment. I studied Crop and Soil Science with a concentration in Agronomy and a minor in Global Food Security and Health at Virginia Tech. When I went to school, I was focused on how I was going to pay for it, and I did not want to take out a huge loan in my first year. In all honesty, without the scholarships I received, including from Altria, I would not have been able to go to Virginia Tech. It’s important that Altria is involved in programs like these university scholarships because it shows that the company cares about the future of tobacco growers and their families.
Due to the Altria scholarship, I was eager to learn about positions within the Altria companies. When I graduated from Virginia Tech in 2019, I saw a Leaf Buyer position open on the company website. Two months after graduation, I got hired as a temporary Leaf Buyer. I worked through a season and then got hired on full time, and now I am an Associate Buyer. This entire career spurred from my knowledge of Altria due to the university scholarship.
Day to day, I purchase flue-cured and burley tobacco for Philip Morris USA. During the buying seasons, I start my day off by calibrating the equipment that we need, and then I jump right into buying tobacco from the farmers. I absolutely love working with our farmers; I love talking to them and hearing their stories. I love learning about their operations. I love everything about tobacco farming. Everyday there is something different.