Our Community Engagement team passionately serves our customers. The team enrolls them in assistance programs, educates them about energy efficiency and safety, and works directly with those who have unique needs. But what most customers don’t know is the team also serves up award-winning BBQ.
Last year, Community Engagement’s BBQ team, Come & Taste It, won the People’s Choice award at our second annual GrillsGiving’s BBQ cook-off. The team spent all day cooking and serving up about 250 samples of brisket, chicken and ribs. Their grill skills earned them the most tasting votes out of the 25 competing teams.
“We had a lot of people coming to our booth and they just really liked all the different kinds of BBQ we served,” said Willie Davis, last year’s head cook. “Good teamwork and camaraderie made a big difference.”
And, there’s no bias for this CPS Energy team. Davis and fellow team member Victor Robledo earned first place for pork ribs at the San Antonio Rodeo in 2002 with another team of employees. Their BBQ placed at the rodeo three years in a row. Ribs are now a speciality of Come & Taste It.
Davis gives a lot of credit to Maria Garcia, Vice President of Community Engagement, for pulling the team together. She recognized the existing talent and rallied the team to compete at the first GrillsGiving in 2014, seeing it as a good team building experience. Although the team didn’t win the first year, they learned a lot about competing together.
“That first year we were the little team that could,” said Garcia. “We had to figure out the different strengths each team member brought to the table. The next year, we implemented our lessons learned and came back feeling like we were going to win.”
For Come & Taste It and other teams, making moist, delicious ribs, chicken and brisket is more than friendly competition.
GrillsGiving is a charity fundraiser for the Residential Energy Assistance Partnership (REAP). Last year, the live music and meat fest raised more than $40,000 to help our neighbors in need pay their energy bills. Event proceeds, our charity golf tournament, and customer donations combined to provide utility bill assistance to 6,800 households.
“In the spirit of putting people first, we have some good memories working side by side with other CPS Energy employees to help the families we serve every day,” said Garica. “I’m proud of our team and glad we can represent these families at GrillsGiving. We are Community Engagement. It just comes natural to us.”