For 80 years, the Gonzales Valley Electric Cooperative (GVEC) has been serving the residents of Gonzales County and neighboring environs. Founded by a group of area farmers in the Cost area of Gonzales County, the electric co-op was formed to provide electricity to the rural areas of this part of Texas.
Over the years, the GVEC has grown its coverage area, but it has also changed to meet the needs of its service area by providing other services the company feels serves the best interests of its members and customers.
“We are proud of our heritage and our long commitment to Gonzales,” said Darren Schauer, the General Manager and Chief Executive Officer of GVEC. “We look at our long history here as something that is essential to what we do, and we constantly strive to build on that heritage as something that is fundamental to GVEC’s mission and purpose.”
Schauer has been at the helm of GVEC for over a decade, but he has a long history with the company.
“I started working at GVEC during summers while I was a college student at Texas A&M,” Schauer stated. “In 1992 I was hired in fulltime. My first job was in marketing, but over the years I’ve held a lot of different positions within the company.”
Schauer said he helped oversee GVEC’s implementation of providing internet coverage to this area in 1998, saying “it was a great opportunity for us to meet the needs of the rural area. The internet was exploding, but this part of the state was not being served and we identified it as an area of need and opportunity and made internet a reality for this part of Texas.”
When Schauer talks about “this part of Texas,” he is referring to the GVEC coverage and service area. GVEC currently provides services to all or parts of 13 counties, but its core business is in Gonzales, Guadalupe, Lavaca, Wilson and Dewitt counties.
As far as services provided is concerned, GVEC offers a host of services to its service area.
“Electricity is what started the co-op, but we have added internet service, wireless internet, fiber to the home, heating and cooling services, electrical servicing, solar cells and other things,” Schauer said. “As part of our mission statement, we want to honor our past but constantly build on that past. As you can see by the services we now provide, we have expanded our operation to include these things to help promote the quality of life here and to keep up with the changing times.
“Our goal is to build on our past, but we also want to leave a good foundation for the future as well. When we are done here and turn this over to the next generation at GVEC, we want it to be a great provider of services for all of our area.”
Schauer says Gonzales will always be at the heart of the GVEC legacy, even though some of the other counties GVEC serves are experiencing the growth fallout from San Antonio.
“This is where we started, and we will always be here in Gonzales,” Schauer said. “Besides our history here, there are a lot of strong business reasons for us to remain committed to Gonzales.
“There is a great workforce here, as the people are hard-working, dedicated and committed to their community,” Schauer stated. “You don’t find that everywhere. In addition, we have a great working relationship with the Gonzales Economic Development Corporation and other economic development entities here.
“Our relationship with the city in recent years had been much improved, as the city council and the city administration has begun long-term planning for the future.
“This is a great place to do business, and Gonzales has a strong future in front of it.”