Fluvanna Faces: Brandi Pannell

By Madeline Otten

Where do you live?

I live in Lake Monticello.

How long have you lived in Fluvanna? 

I was born in Charlottesville and my parents moved here in 2002. I graduated from Fluvanna County High School in 2014.

Tell us about your family.

My parents met in Charlottesville where all of my family had decided to plant their roots, so all of my family is within an hour drive of Fluvanna. My father works as a police officer for the University of Virginia (U.Va.) and my mom works for U.Va. in the kidney center.

 Do you have more family in Fluvanna?

Not in Fluvanna County, but my aunt, grandma, and nana live in Charlottesville and I have two aunts who live over the mountain: one in Stuarts Draft and the other in Staunton.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

I loved animals, and still do, so as a kid, I really wanted to be a veterinarian.

What was your very first job?

My very first job was working at the Arby’s in Zion Crossroads as a crew member. I started working there in April 2012 when I was a sophomore in high school. We were going to Walmart one night and I saw the sign on the newly built building. I had been looking for a job since I turned 16 the past October and I figured, why not apply? I got the job the day following my application and I still work there today. I was promoted to team leader, then to shift manager, and I became assistant general manager in June 2018.

What is one of your pet peeves?

People stopping in the middle of a roundabout. While some people are being nice and letting others go, it can cause an accident.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love spending time with my 10-month-old Pug puppy, Sir Remington Noodle (Remy). I have more time off now that my second job went out of business, so I get to take him places with parents and friends. For instance, we took him to the dog event at the Downtown Mall around Halloween for trick-or-treating. Since the weather is warming up, I’ll be able to take him to Carter Mountain for their sunset series.

Books or movies?

It depends for me, but if the book is made into a movie, I normally prefer the book because there is more detail and a better back story.

Favorite movie?

My favorite movie is definitely Sweet Home Alabama.

What pivotal decision helped to shape your life?

I don’t really think I’ve had pivotal moment yet since I am so young, but when I graduated from high school, I spent a semester at Virginia Tech. I was still working at Arby’s and coming home every weekend to earn some extra money and to spend time with my pug, Bella. I realized after a semester that it was not for me. I left VT and started classes at PVCC and it changed the whole course of life and what I imagined it to be.

What has surprised you about your life?

How different it is compared to what I thought it would be. I thought I was going to graduate from Virginia Tech after four years and continue life from there, but that did not pan out. Life does not always go as planned, so I learned to deal with the curveballs and make them my own.

What’s one thing you hope to accomplish before you die?

I want to get married and have kids.

Tell us about your proudest moment.

I earned my associates degree in business administration from PVCC while being a full-time student and working full-time at Arby’s and Crazy 8, a Gymboree sister store that recently closed down when the company filed for bankruptcy this past holiday season. I am now taking classes online through Mary Baldwin to earn my bachelors of applied science in business with an emphasis in management and human resources.

Favorite spot in Fluvanna County?

I love taking Remy to the dog park and letting him run around. The spot is a great space for dogs and their owners to interact with one another and we are so lucky we have one close.

What quote or saying do you connect with most?

“She believed she could so she did.” I have this tattooed on my foot. I really connected with it once I graduated from high school and realized I had a ton of scary grown-up decisions to make.

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