Katie Blake is a business analyst with TMG Health and the lead vocalist with the band Light Weight. She is a native of Archbald and a graduate of Valley View High School. She also studied at Marywood University and Pace University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in communications. She and her boyfriend, Matt, live in Scranton.
Meet Katie Blake …

Tell us a little about your work with TMG Health.
We’re a business process outsourcing company. With my job, as a business analyst, we implement new clients, mainly Medicare and Medicaid. My focus is on Medicaid. When we implement a new client and somebody wants to do their outsourcing with us, I’m mainly focused in enrollment of new members. We meet with clients and discuss their expectations. And a lot of the work that I do is quoting the requirements for these transitions to take place and helping them be implemented through our IT services, to make sure the client is delivered what they expect.

You’ve also been singing with Light Weight for about four years. Can you talk a little about your work with the band? Have you always been a singer?
It’s a second job and takes up a lot of time, but I wouldn’t have it if I didn’t love it. I’ve always enjoyed singing. It’s something I’ve always loved to do. I was greatly inspired by my dad, who played guitar and sang, and let me listen to some of the most well-known classic musicians of that time that are still world renowned. In high school I got into musicals, and that was exciting for me. And I was also in an original band, writing music. I always had a bit of a stigma towards cover bands. “You guys play other people’s music? How difficult could it be? And now that I’m in one, I’m really astounded as to why I even thought that. I loved writing songs and performing at shows with other talented acts in the area, but this is a business, and it’s a great balance for how much I actually love performing and entertaining people. It means a lot to me that something that I’m doing is making other people happy.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time to relax?
Taking baths. Listening to music, which is obviously a big part of my life. I’m also a Big Sister with Big Brothers Big Sisters. It’s a part of my life that I really enjoy, and spending time with my Little Sister does help me relax.

Who are some of your all-time favorite musical artists?
Queen. Sara Bareilles. Billy Joel. And I’ve really gotten into Birdtalker.

Do you follow sports?
Steelers. I went to a game in Pittsburgh and it was the best time, ever. I love that city and I love the people there.

Is that your favorite city?
I really do love Pittsburgh. And New York became a second home. I have strong ties there, too, going back to college.

Favorite vacation spot, or places to visit?
Jim Thorpe, Bethlehem, Philadelphia … and I’d love to spend forever in Ireland. That would be wonderful. I’ve been there twice.

Favorite thing about NEPA?
The people. When I traveled and got outside of the area, and when I went to New York City to go to school, it was obviously a culture shock and incredibly different than home. But what I expected was something much different, and what I learned was something much different. I was expecting to have these new types of experiences that were so grand, and meet many new types of people, and have the world opened up to me — to make Scranton feel small — and understand a much bigger picture. And that did happen. But at the same time, what happened was I realized that the ties that I have and the friendships that I’ve formed in this area, with the people here, are different and are like a second family. And I realized how lucky I was.

All-time favorite movie?
The “Lord of The Rings” and “Harry Potter” films.

Favorite TV show?
“The Office” and “Game of Thrones.”

Favorite food?
Pizza.

Favorite holiday?
Thanksgiving.

Favorite quote or catchphrase?
I put puns in everything. And I say “That’s what she said” all the time.

Favorite book or author?
Stephen King.

Biggest pet peeve?
Ignorance, rudeness and impatience.

Is there anything about you that might surprise even your friends?
I don’t think a lot of people know that I’m a Big Sister, and so whenever I speak about my “Little Sister,” people that have known me all of my life say, “You don’t have a little sister.” (Laughs) But that’s a big part of my life.

Have you had a defining personal moment?
Two years ago, I was in a pretty intense accident. I was driving back from visiting a friend in Ohio. It was 2 o’clock in the afternoon. I had a great night’s rest. I wasn’t tired. And I don’t really know exactly what happened, but I started going off the road, and then came back, and went off again, and I ended up rolling my car four or five times. I was going on 80 West and I landed on 80 East. And there was traffic coming both ways. And yet somehow, during that moment, when it happened, nobody else was affected at all. There must have been 35 miracles that took place that day. I don’t’ remember anything about the accident itself, but it really changed me. I think, my whole life, I’ve been trying to find the gratitude that I think I should have, and I strived for that, but it was not until that moment happened to me, that I feel I achieved those things. I was able to understand that you really can lose everything in a second. It was a miracle. And I’m so grateful. It just changed my perspective on everything. And it inspires a lot of things inside me and in my life.

UP CLOSE & PERSONAL with ALAN K. STOUT is a regular feature in electric city, profiling people from all walks of life throughout NEPA. Reach Alan at alankstout@comcast.net.

Photos by Emma Black