Vee Strauss had only been on the job for three months as manager of external affairs for AEP Texas when the retail energy supplier faced one of its toughest challenges.
“They claim Hurricane Harvey was my initiation,” Strauss joked. “It was like our D-Day. It was the biggest event we could have, and it was all hands on deck.”
Strauss was on the front line of AEP Texas’ efforts to restore power to its customers.
“I was that liaison of contact with the cities and first responders,” Strauss said. “It was a mammoth task from the get-go. I definitely made a lot of new cell phone contacts.”
Strauss said she developed her personal communication skills while attending Victoria College.
“I enjoyed the camaraderie, and the one-on-one accessibility to the professors was phenomenal,” Strauss said. “That helped make it an easy transition to a four-year university. I had the study skills down, and I already had the course mapped out for me.”
Strauss chose to attend a community college because of its affordability and proximity to her parents’ Jackson County farm.
“I always knew I wanted to stay close to home,” Strauss said. “I still wanted to help my parents out on the farm, so going to the nearby community college was a no-brainer for me. It was affordable, and I could still live at home while taking the classes I wanted. It provided me a great bridge to my next path.”
Strauss, who obtained her associate’s degree from Victoria College and bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston-Victoria, was named to the Victoria College Foundation board of directors in September 2017, just weeks after Harvey struck the Texas Gulf Coast. She witnessed first-hand the foundation’s efforts to make sure students could resume their classes after the storm.
“There's a broad scope of individuals who are assisting the VC Foundation,” Strauss said. “I have learned so much about the endowments and the inner workings of Victoria College and what the priorities are at VC.”
Strauss sees first-hand at AEP Texas how Victoria College impacts the local workforce.
“Victoria College is so vital for growth in our community,” Strauss said. “Industries like AEP Texas are always looking for that trained workforce. When someone local comes out with a certificate or a degree from VC, we should keep them here. Victoria College gives its students the opportunity to stay here in the area after they finished their college career.”
by Coy Slavik, Communications Specialist, Victoria College