Some might say that David Wagner’s story with PEC was written in the stars. At the time when he was born in Johnson City, the local hospital sat at 302 South Ave. F. Back then, no one could have guessed that Wagner would one day return to the place his life began to build a long and meaningful career.
Growing up in Blanco, Wagner loved everything about the Hill Country. He graduated from technical school, then worked in San Antonio and Austin for a short time, but longed to get back home. When the hospital closed in the 1970s, PEC purchased the building and transformed it into PEC’s Annex building at the cooperative’s headquarters. In the fall of 1986, Wagner applied to work at PEC in the Data Processing Department, bringing his story full circle.
“I’ve always been proud to work at PEC, and growing up, I knew a lot about the history,” Wagner said. “My mom would tell me stories about the days before electricity, how her grandmother used kerosene lamps and baked biscuits on a wood stove. When PEC brought in electricity it was a big deal.”
It’s fair to say that Wagner has also seen a lot of change since starting his career. When he first joined, only three people were on his team in Data Processing. He’s watched PEC go from a small cooperative with limited technology to a large and growing, cutting edge co-op equipped with robust software and innovative programs that we use today.
“When I moved to the Billing Department, any time you connected or disconnected a meter, you would log it on paper and file it into a drawer. At the time, I imagine we probably had 90,000 members,” he chuckles recalling the days before computers. “Could you imagine doing that today with all the growth we’ve seen? And there was only one billing cycle, but today we have 20.”
From Billing, he moved to Daily Balancing, a group that had a similar function to our current day Accounting Team. Later, he moved to Correspondence and then Records.
“Back in those days, we depended on the member to turn in their readings. We’d bill them once a month and they would turn it in with their payment. Once we received it, we’d process it, post the readings and take the payment.”
Today, as a Member Relations Employee Development Specialist, Wagner’s focus is on helping new employees learn about PEC and how to be more comfortable doing their job.
“I love my job and find it especially rewarding to train employees and build their confidence in working with members. I think now more than ever, our management works hard to look out for the member, to “Think Like a Member®”, and keep rates low.”
As Wagner celebrates 35 years with the cooperative, he looks back on his life and PEC career with a smile.
“I’ve been all over and everywhere now. I’ve had the opportunity to learn so much, and PEC’s been good to me. The friendships that I’ve made have been incredible and it’s pretty special to have those lasting relationships you’ve built at work. I’ve spent my life here, and it’s truly been great!”