With the recent implementation of expanded technology, a new logo, and the “Just Plain Smart” campaign, GVTC bears little resemblance to its humble beginnings in 1951. What does remain is the pioneer spirit, a deep sense of pride in the historical heritage, and a solid commitment to being a cooperative element of the community as a whole. Leading the commitment to community is GVTC President and CEO Ritchie Sorrells.
Sorrells said, “We’re a local company. We were formed over 50 years ago to fill a void the larger companies couldn’t, and that was to provide service to our neighbors. It’s our heritage to give back to the community, and we’re proud of it.”
That commitment to the community has evidenced itself in charitable activities such as the GVTC-sponsored golf tournament raising more than $225,000 for the Comal Public School Foundation over the past three years, GVTC serving as a major purchaser at local 4H and FFA youth auctions, and annual scholarships to area high school students whose parents are members of the cooperative.
In addition to investing financial resources into the communities the cooperative serves, the employees donate several hours each year. In 2006, GVTC employees donated 5,024 community service hours. Sales and Marketing Director Janet Sczech said, “To put this in perspective, if an average work year has roughly 2,080 hours, then the 5,024 hours would equate to GVTC dedicating almost 2.5 full time employees each year to the community.”
With so many employees involved in serving their neighbors, GVTC hosts an annual breakfast to honor community involvement. Human Resources Vice President Cathy Young said, “We’re very proud of our employees. They aren’t serving for recognition. They are doing it out of graciousness and goodness of heart. We have amazing employees.”
Young went on to say, “Our employees take pride in our company. Many of them have relatives who worked here when it was established. They look at it as their company as well.” That sense of process ownership and empowerment is something Sorrells said he fosters as part of a cooperative work environment.
Sorrells said, “We are a technology company. To keep up with the pace of change and to remain competitive, we need to be creative and empower our employees. That creates a passion for what we do here. Passion translates to enthusiasm. Our employees exude enthusiasm.”
Listed within the statement of values for GVTC are exceptional customer service, integrity, teamwork, and community involvement. The cooperative element in the title appears to remain an essential element as the group moves forward in technology, but remains committed to the founding value of community. Sorrels said, “We have clear direction and principles with a very deep commitment that runs through the entire organization.”