POWERAhead employee contribution: Sandra Saathoff

In April 2014, Plug Power acquired Spokane, WA ReliOn, a developer of hydrogen fuel cell stack technology and fuel cell systems. Through this acquisition, key personnel joined the Plug Power team and help us all POWERAhead.


This week, we’ll talk to Sandra Saathoff, Marketing Communications Manager.

As a Marketing Communications Manager, what are your main day-to-day responsibilities?

Essentially, my job is to be a “storyteller” for Plug Power and its many brands: GenKey, ReliOn, GenDrive, GenFuel and GenCare. As a member of a lean department, I am responsible for contributions to our website, advertising, media relations, tradeshow programs, social media and thought leadership activities. I also manage and respond to incoming inquiries from people hoping to learn more about fuel cells and perhaps purchase them for use in their work environments.

What’s your average day look like?

My work day generally begins with filling my travel mug with hot tea.Mickey_Minnie

From there, I don’t really have an “average” day. I could spend time during the day doing any of a variety of things including

  • writing or placing articles or whitepapers
  • working on slides for an executive speaking engagement
  • supporting our technical writing department with manual development
  • designing artwork for an ad or negotiating with publications on ad dates and prices
  • writing an html newsletter to communicate with our external readers
  • updating our website
  • staffing a tradeshow booth or doing follow up with people who have visited us at a tradeshow

…and so much more. I love the variety in my work. It keeps things interesting and always provides a learning environment.

What challenges do you face, and how do you persevere through them?

Being a small company has its challenges, both in terms of time and budget. On the time issue, I am a huge user of lists. I like to see everything I have on my plate in one place, so that I can be sure I haven’t forgotten something important. It’s satisfying to be able to check an item off the list, even though it is usually replaced by another two or three things.

In terms of budget, I believe it is important to have an overall plan in place before the year starts. I look at what the goals for the year are and how we can best meet those goals, develop plans and budgets around those, and then execute on them. The plan helps me to work within my budget and then find ways to squeeze in extra activities as they come up. I love creative promotional activities that can be done on a shoestring or even without spending anything.

What long-term impact would you like to have on Plug Power and the fuel cell industry?

I have worked with this technology since 1998, first as Avista Labs, then as ReliOn, Inc., and now as Plug Power Inc.  I believe in fuel cell technology and its ability to change the world through commercial adoption, both by improving the reliability of equipment in a variety of industries, and by cleaning up the environment by replacing technologies that spew hazardous emissions with clean fuel cell solutions.  I would love to be able to write the announcement promoting healthy profits and customer traction all over the world for Plug Power, knowing I was part of the team that made it happen.