Pedernales Electric Cooperative today named Juan Garza, current General Manager of Austin Energy, as its new General Manager at a specially called Board meeting. He will assume his duties in early February.
Garza, 63, will replace PEC General Manager Bennie Fuelberg, who announced his retirement in November 2007. Garza will be paid an annual salary of $350,000. Fuelberg will remain with Pedernales Electric to assist Garza for a transition period, PEC Board of Directors Vice President E.B. Price said.
Price said Garza was one of 13 finalists identified by the national search firm Mycoff, Fry & Prouse LLC, and the immediacy of the hiring was necessitated by Garza’s status as a finalist for the position of City Manager of the City of Austin.
“Juan Garza’s leadership qualities, knowledge of the energy issues facing Central Texas and familiarity with Pedernales Electric Cooperative as manager of a neighboring utility of our magnitude made him a clear choice for this position, and we did not want to miss the opportunity to bring his skills to PEC.
“His leadership on renewable energy and emphasis on conservation were particularly impressive to this Board since these are priorities for PEC’s future,” Price said.
“Bennie Fuelberg built a great utility over his 35 years at PEC, including a culture dedicated to providing our members with great service and electric reliability at reasonable costs,” Price said. “Juan’s career experience is all about strategic planning, service and good management, and the Board feels certain he will be a forward thinker for our members and a great motivator for our workforce.”
“It is a great honor to accept this position,” Garza said. “PEC is an outstanding organization with a strong customer service track record and a workforce that is dedicated to meeting the needs of this vast and fast-growing service area. As General Manager of PEC, I will work to keep both this cooperative and public power strong. I plan to build on PEC’s existing strengths, like the focus on customer care, and emphasize that this is a new era marked by an increasingly open and accountable organization.”
Garza began serving as Austin Energy General Manager in 2002 after two years as the city’s Director of Human Resources and Civil Services. He came to Austin from Corpus Christi where he served as City Manager from 1988 until 1996 and then entered the private business sector until his relocation to Austin.
Pedernales Electric Cooperative, Inc. is the largest electric distribution cooperative in the nation with more than 220,000 members and serves Travis, Hays and Williamson counties as well as all or part of 21 other Texas counties.