Gregg Sampson, Sr. Coordinator for Community Relations, helped prepare OUC’s Avian Protection Exhibit for its grand opening at the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey in Maitland.

In nearly three decades at OUC, Gregg Sampson has focused his energies on customer relations. Every position Sampson has held, from customer service rep to chief cashier to conservation coordinator to his current post as senior coordinator for community relations, has complemented his people-person persona.

And for good reason. He likes helping people.

Sampson has helped OUC residential and commercial customers with everything from setting up utility bill payment plans to making their homes or businesses more efficient with water and energy. Recently he led the installation and opening of an educational exhibit on OUC’s  Avian Protection Program. Located at the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey in Maitland, the exhibit features a small-scale version of an OUC power line setup equipped with retrofitted rubber protective coverings on the line’s conductors and transformers.

“I had no idea Florida had such a large population of bald eagles, and our St. Cloud service territory is teeming with them,” says Sampson, who’s based at Reliable Plaza. “Telling the public what we do to protect them and other birds is good for community relations.”

Sampson has worked on similar informational community outreach initiatives, saying he enjoys educating the public on OUC conservation rebates and helping (there’s that word again) people discover how they can reduce their energy and water consumption.

“I’ve always worked in customer service roles with OUC,” he says. “I feel like my degree in international affairs from Rollins College has helped me relate to the different kinds of people and cultures I come into contact with.”

In 2015, Sampson, as a Conservation Coordinator working at the Gardenia operations facility, was tapped to pilot OUC’s new Multifamily Efficiency Program incentivizing rental property owners and managers to make efficiency upgrades. That same year he helped obtain grants from the St. Johns River Water Management District to partially fund OUC’s rebate offer for residential irrigation improvements.

“I feel good about the kind of jobs I’ve done at OUC,” he says. “A good part of my career has been devoted to raising customer awareness of energy and water conservation. This is a passion of mine.”

Since starting in 1990 at OUC as a part-time customer service representative, Sampson has greeted successive job changes as growth opportunities. “I like change,” he says, “I like building my knowledge. Personal and professional development are very important to me.”

So are the martial arts. The son of a Kung fu master, Sampson studies jujitsu, a hand-to-hand combat technique, and Shotokan, a Japanese discipline of karate. He is training to take a brown belt test in Shotokan and may pursue the ultimate level of expertise, black belt, in it.

“It’s great exercise; that’s why I do it,” he says. “But martial arts also teach you discipline, self-control and awareness.”

But the martial arts haven’t helped his self-control when it comes to sneezing.

A Sampson sneeze is like a jolt out of a restful sleep. Loud and forceful, it startles anyone within earshot on Reliable’s ninth floor, sometimes triggering retaliatory sneezes in jest.

“If I try to suppress it I’d sneeze even louder,” he says. “I’ve been in restaurants where I sneezed and people clapped.”

Yes, it’s that noticeable.

With his 30th anniversary coming up next year, Sampson says he looks forward to seeing what the future holds for him at OUC.

“I want to continue to grow with the company and help it achieve its strategic goals,” he says. “I am in no rush to retire.”