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CED representative working with students
Hands-on learning: PEC Youth Engagement Representative Celeste Mikeska teaches Leander’s Camacho Elementary students to build circuits.
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'All about the members': Meet your Connections & Community Engagement team

Apr 20, 2017

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Who we are and how we give

In February 2016, the board adopted our Community Support Policy, which supports the cooperative principle embodied by the PEC Connections & Community Engagement team: concern for community. Now, PEC is proud to give to our communities through our:

  • Educational Support Program
  • Scholarship Program
  • Community Grants Program (includes Power of Change)
  • Member Assistance Program
  • Employee Giving Corporate Matching Program (includes PEC United Charities)
  • Special Request for Community Support

These programs replace and update older programs Partners in Learning, Light the Way, Community Grants, Project Graduation and Youth Livestock.


"Hi, Mrs. M.!" the classroom of fifth-graders sang out together, putting a smile on the face of PEC Youth Engagement Representative Celeste Mikeska.

"I love getting to go into classrooms with hands-on programs like Building Circuits," Mikeska said later. "You can see the kids start to really understand the difference between the different circuits. Their faces light up."

If you were asked to name important jobs at an electric utility, odds are you might respond "lineworker" or "engineer." But for PEC, being an electric cooperative doesn't just mean keeping the lights on: It's so much more.

"It's about building relationships," PEC Connections & Community Engagement Director Trista Fugate said. "It's about providing support for our communities. When our communities are thriving and strong and vibrant, everyone does better."

Fugate’s group — PEC's Connections & Community Engagement team — maintains a point of contact between the cooperative and Hill Country schools, businesses and local governments. Whether they're writing grants for local nonprofits like Little League, pet rescues and EMS; facilitating training for local chambers of commerce or supporting the Hill Country's economic development, these four team members know that community-building is serious business.

"Our team does a lot," PEC Community Engagement Representative Tessa Schmidtzinsky said. "We offer so many programs and services …. It's a lot of face-to-face, a lot of member contact, which enables us to be aware of our community needs."

Concern for community is woven into the fabric of PEC as a matter of principle. It even makes practical business sense, Fugate explained: "We’re a cooperative. We do better when our community does better. When our communities have the basic building blocks — libraries, strong schools, fire departments — they’re in a better position to attract new businesses. That creates jobs, which enriches and diversifies the region for all of us."

By providing grant-writing assistance and development for libraries and other nonprofit community organizations, the PEC Connections and Community Engagement team helps the Hill Country read to succeed (and more).
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In addition to offering support, listening ears and helping hands to countless members in our 8,100-square-mile service area, during the past year this team:

"In everything we do on our team, it's all about the members," PEC Community Engagement Representative Diana Gonzales said. "Our team cares so much. We work hard. We get dirty, too — putting events together is hard work! But it’s worth it. Having that presence, being engaged, says 'We're here for you.' Because we are."

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