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Ray-Carroll welcomes some new, old faces to new places

There are new faces in new places at the Ray Carroll Grain Growers' Co-Op.
People see the very first one about a moment after walking in to the fuel station's door. Andrea Mathews became the Co-Op's new desk clerk in early April.
The 30-year-old Orrick native needed a change after 10 years as a floral designer when friend and coworker Tammy Martinez put in a good word for her.
Mathews said it's a switch moving from arranging flowers to cashiering, operating the fuel pumps, accepting bill payments and generally being the first smiling face clients see when they come through the door, but she's enjoying the change of pace enough to stick with it.
"I love it here," she said. "I enjoy meeting new faces, getting to know everybody who comes in here – all the regulars. And all the people who work here are really nice."
She can see a couple of others who have made some changes through the window across from her counter. In fact, they sit practically back-to-back, sharing office space.
Alison Carr is a 22-year-old Platte City native who moved to Stet and joined the Co-Op after playing basketball for and earning an Associate's degree at Penn Valley Community College in Kansas City. She 'fell into' a position as the Co-Op's new fuel coordinator, managing coop clients' accountsand the Co-Op's receipts.
If she's welcomed one little shift from city life to country living, it's the difference in hospitality. She said she wouldn't mind staying as long as the Ray-Carroll team will have her.
"It's completely different," Carr said. "It's friendlier. You can wave to somebody in your car and they wave back in the city, they honk their horns and try to ram you."
Paul Harris isn't a new face to the Co-Op – he's just in a new place. He's no stranger to change, either. After graduating from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1981 with an education in agriculture, he shifted to working in construction for over 25 years. The Colorado native moved to Ray County with his wife, Kathy, a veterinarian at Ray County Animal Hospital, in 1984.
Then, like Mathews and Carr, the winds of change blew him away.
He arrived on the Co-Op's doorstep on Feb. 28 and became Assistant Petroleum Manager in December the same year. His job is something of a catch-all: he dispatches drivers, prepares and contracts fuels, tracks EPA requirements and keeps inventory . . . to name just a few jobs. He would call his position “very diversified."
He welcomed the shift from construction back to agriculture, the focus of his education, but said the business side is a little different. "There's few government opportunities," Harris said.
They're new faces from different places, but they've all landed in the same yard: Ray County, Missouri.

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