Vela to Retire After Nearly 15 Years of Service

Daktronics congratulates Pete Vela on his retirement after nearly 15 years of service.

Daktronics congratulates Pete Vela on his retirement after nearly 15 years of service.

Before beginning his Daktronics careers, Pete Vela was an active part of the company. As an athletics director, Pete put his trust in Daktronics’ quality for 35 years while he coached and taught prior to becoming a sales representative for Daktronics in South Texas in 2006.

This trust in Daktronics’ quality is what kept Pete around for 14 and a half years and he has learned there is no better LED company.

After joining the Daktronics team, Pete admired the continued relationships with his former colleagues in teaching and coaching. Selling to and visiting coaches he had previously worked with was a favorite part of his job and it is evident to his co-workers he is passionate about it.

One of Pete’s co-workers, Jose Rodriguez, refers to him as ‘Coach Vela’ and was honored to work with such a “great co-worker, family man, and friend.” 

“Coach Vela’s drive to compete and win has inspired surrounding co-workers to step it up, especially when times get competitive,” says Jose. “[His] attention to detail has inspired me to do better and ask the right questions. His willingness to adapt to change inspires others to accept and embrace change.”

Jose will miss many things about Coach Vela. His passion, competitiveness, countless stories, and even the vein that pops out on Coach Vela’s neck when he gets really excited or angry.

He will always remember when they went hunting and Pete showed up with a leather gun holster, a six shooter, cowboy hat, and some chaps.

“I called him John Wayne and laughed so hard,” Jose says. “He looked at me and said if I ever told anyone I would see his neck vein. Shortly after, we had an athletic directors conference and all the HSPR sales reps for our region were there. We were having lunch and I told Mike Howell, sales rep in Dallas, Texas, to call him John Wayne when he saw Coach Vela, but to give me a chance to leave the room. Well, Coach Vela showed up and, of course, Mike did not give me the chance to leave the room. When Mike called him John Wayne, Coach Vela almost instantly jumped over the table to grab me as I ran for my life.”

Experiences and friendships like these are why Pete would describe his experience as an “awesome time” and why he “feels very blessed to have been hired to work for Daktronics.”

Tom Coughlin, another friend and co-worker of Pete’s, says, “It has been a great honor to have Pete on the team for these many years. His positive nature is infectious and always leads us to thoughts and actions about why we can get something done.”

Tom also comments on Pete’s huge impact in Daktronics’ HSPR business in South Texas, saying, “We are better for being associated with him.” Another friendship Pete experienced was with Paul Wildeman, a man Pete met as a customer, who eventually became his supervisor at Daktronics.

“We hit it off right away,” Paul says. “When it came time for him to retire from the school business, I knew that he would make a fantastic addition to Daktronics and I’ve never been so right.” 

Paul’s faith in Pete proved to be true with the strengths he brought to Daktronics.  

“As a former athletic director,” Paul says, “Pete brought with him a knowledge of how schools do business. He also brought a high degree of professionalism and attention to detail.” 

Paul adds that Pete currently holds the world record for largest high school video display installation (36 feet x 66 feet). Pete also mentions this accomplishment and was extremely proud to sell this display to his former employer, Weslaco ISD.  

Pete takes pride in his accomplishments and wants to advise current and future employees of Daktronics to do the same by saying, “Excel with what you have been given and take pride in your work.”  

The work Pete has done will live with him forever, but he is excited to spend more time traveling, going to Vela’s ranch, and enjoying his grandchildren and family’s presence.  

He will be joining his wife Aurora, a previous teacher, in retirement. The two have been married for 50 years this coming October and look forward to the extra time they will get with their four adult children: Catharine, Mark, Lisa, and Cynthia, as well as their four grandchildren: Mia, Sienna, Libby, and Jordan.  

Pete, Daktronics thank you for all your contributions during your career. We appreciate all you have done for this company and all wish you and your wife the best in your future endeavors! 

This article is by Angela Fuhr
in Employee Communications.

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