David Wagner was born to work at Pedernales Electric Cooperative.

The member relations employment development specialist has been a PEC employee for 35 years, over half of his life. But his connection with the Johnson City, Texas-based co-op goes back even longer. Wagner was born in a hospital that’s now one of the co-op’s annex buildings.

Wagner was initially hired at PEC for a job in the data processing unit, the predecessor to the IT department, and later worked in billing and records. For the past three years, he’s worked in member relations, where he trains new employees.

Over the years, he’s had firsthand experience with how digital technology has rendered many work practices obsolete, including paper-and-pencil meter readings.

“When we did disconnects and connects, or any kind of meter change, we would note the reading on a card and file it in a row of filing cabinets,” he said. “We’d have to find the reading the serviceman took, pull that card and then we'd write down the reading. And back then, we only had one billing cycle, but today we have 20.”

During Wagner’s tenure at PEC, the co-op has become one of the region’s largest employers, with a workforce of more than 800.

So, what’s kept Wagner at PEC for nearly four decades? Besides being able to earn a living in his hometown—Wagner still lives on the family ranch in nearby Blanco—he’s had ample opportunities for career growth and development. A sense of belonging has helped, too.

“We have a very good bunch of people here,” he said. “It’s pretty special to have those lasting relationships built at work. I’ve spent my life here, and it’s truly been great.”