Carol Obando-Derstine

Regional Affairs Director, PPL Electric Utilities

Carol Obando-Derstine, regional affairs director for PPL Electric Utilities, moved to Lehigh Valley when her husband was hired for a job here in 2003. Growing up in New Jersey, she knew little about the region but decided to give it a try. She thought that in a few years, if they didn’t like it, they could find another place to live. Then she discovered all that Lehigh Valley makes possible.

“Lehigh Valley has grown on me so much,” Carol said. “I love this place and wouldn’t think of moving again.”

Her feelings for the region convinced her parents to move to Lehigh Valley when they retired. Now they are as committed to the area as Carol is.

“I asked my Mom if she missed northern New Jersey. She said not at all. Not one bit. She feels this is home,” Carol said.

One change that has particularly impressed Carol is the growth and revitalization of Lehigh Valley’s cities. She has seen transformation in downtown Allentown, where she worked as a regional manager for U.S. Senator Robert Casey before joining PPL Electric Utilities.

Her focus on building stronger communities is consistent with a personal commitment to service.

“Volunteerism is a huge part of who I am and what I do,” she said. “Lehigh Valley offers so many ways to connect with neighbors. We have to make sure all children have enough food to eat and are doing well in school, and that we’re preserving the great natural resources we have.”

When not working or volunteering, Carol often can be found enjoying those natural resources: running on the D&L Trail, exploring the Wildlands Conservancy, biking on the Saucon Rail Trail, or rafting down the river on the annual Lehigh River Sojourn, which she considers to be Lehigh Valley’s best-kept secret.

Carol also is proud to work for a company that she said shares her sense of service. PPL Electric Utilities encourages employees to get involved.  Its philanthropy focuses on education and sustainable communities. It also provides energy conservation and electrical safety education for the community.

Recalling what it was like to be a newcomer in Lehigh Valley, Carol’s advice to those who move here is simple: “Explore, explore, explore!”

“Enjoy the outdoors. Find out about activities and events by visiting Discover Lehigh Valley, then go do them. Discover volunteer opportunities through United Way, the Volunteer Center or other nonprofit organizations that interest you. You can learn so much about this beautiful region by connecting with your neighbors.”

Live Like a Local

Most fun outdoor activity: Enjoying the Lehigh River in any way possible – rafting, canoeing, kayaking, or boating

Favorite café: Café Vida

Cuisine and favorite restaurant: Hard to pick just one Latino restaurant. But I also love French food, and it’s hands down Bolete. There are so many great restaurants here and I say explore, explore, explore as many as possible.