This summer, we’ve been promoting our energy-conservation campaign with a commercial for Beat the Peak that you’ve probably seen online or on TV. Two of our TEP employees acted alongside Tucson Water’s Pete the Beak in the commercial to help show customers how to save energy during the hottest time of the day between 3-7 p.m.
Meet the TEP employees to learn more about what drives them when they’re not maintaining our equipment or supporting our customers.
Ralph Gallegos, Journeyman Lineman/Cableman
While you’ve probably seen Ralph Gallegos in our Beat the Peak commercial, you may not know he’s in a band that has performed across the country.
Los Gallegos, which translates to the band of brothers, formed in 2004 with Ralph and his brothers just playing around.
One of his brothers was a successful musician before the group formed officially. He toured the world, performing in 20 countries. But now, the brothers must find time to perform since they are all busy. One is of brothers is a music teacher at Desert View High School and the other is the co-owner of American Eat Company.
“It’s a fun hobby,” Ralph said.
You can also say music is in their blood.
“My dad is a musician and so is my uncle,” said Ralph. “My uncle has even recorded a country album.”
While Los Gallegos plays all kinds of music depending on the event, his favorites are Norteño and cumbias. You’ll find him on the bass and as the back-up vocalist.
The sweet sounds of the Los Gallegos can be heard here in Tucson, and coast to coast.
Ralph has travelled from California to Texas for state fairs and award ceremonies, including a performance in Washington D.C.
But not all his performances are large concerts. “At every family gathering, we bring out the instruments.”
If you haven’t seen Ralph perform, maybe you’ve seen him on the big screen. He has been in “Tombstone” and several other movies.
It was all thanks to his dad, who would meet people working on the film and invited them to be extras.
Ralph was only nine or ten-years-old at the time, but he remembers being in movies as a fun experience.
He joked all these performances prepared him to film alongside Pete the Beak. “This isn’t my first time in the spotlight,” he laughed.
Maria Sherfield, Supervisor of Customer Care
A cream-colored jacket with blue snowflakes helped put a young Maria Sherfield on a path of service.
Maria’s third grade teacher knew the girl did not have many resources, and introduced her to the Sabbar Shrine. The service organization took her on an outing to the mall for the first time in her life. She came home with that very special jacket, which she thought was the coolest thing ever.
“I can really empathize with customers in need,” she said. “I grew up pretty poor, so that experience really imprinted on me and now I always wonder how I can pay it forward.”
The Boys and Girls Clubs of Southern Arizona became an outlet for her as a child, growing up in the Tucson Unified School District. She started off doing small tasks, helping out at the computer lab or with arts and crafts. In 1993, she was named the Youth of the Year. And as the organization grew in her heart, she even served as a staff member for two years.
“I basically grew up with the Boys and Girls Club, and I will always look for ways to give back and support their work,” she said.
With President and CEO Susan Gray serving on the Board of the Boys and Girls Club, the Customer Service Supervisor was excited about more opportunities connecting her company with her favorite charity.
Then COVID-19 hit and as activities were put on hold, she began to look for different ways to serve others.
She turned her focus to TEP customers.
When federal funding became available to assist renters who were behind in their utility bills because of the pandemic, Maria was all in. She went door to door, to local churches, and to the Sahuarita Food Bank to enroll customers in the Emergency Rental Assistance Program and to offer information about the Lifeline Program, TEP’s monthly discount for low-income customers.
A member of the Low-Income Task Force at TEP, she also serves as a member of the Pima County Community Action Board and on the board of Our Family Services.
“I was just filled with ideas and asked about hitting up local radio stations,” she laughed. “Before I knew it, I was doing bilingual commercials on KCMT about the Emergency Rental Assistance Program.”
Her efforts continued when she recently went out with a team to the Juneteenth celebration to share information and sign up customers for support resources.
Going into this summer, Maria was asked to act as a customer in the Beat the Peak commercial, which helps customers by spreading the word about energy conservation.
Maria is looking forward to upcoming Boys and Girls Clubs events, including back to school this summer and Trunk or Treating in the fall. Until then, she hopes to inspire more people to get out to serve their communities.
“Something can always be done to help,” she said.