VBEC ~ 3404 NORTH BEN WILSON ST, VICTORIA, TEXAS 77901 ~ (361) 572-8232

About Us

In 2002 a group of community leaders began to congregate with the purpose of improving the educational attainment level in the region. With over 100 people on board, the group named themselves the Human Capital Planning Team. This group developed a steering committee of eight community and business leaders who developed a vision and a mission statement. They also drafted a plan that would guide the larger group in identifying barriers to educational attainment, current efforts to address these barriers, and gaps that needed to be closed to overcome these barriers.

The Victoria Business and Education Coalition and the Victoria Chamber of Commerce Education Committee were developed as a result of the Human Capital Planning Team. The VBEC concept is the outcome of the efforts of these groups. The many facets of the program have been developed or implemented by the VBEC Team over the past several years.

Many businesses and individuals have collaborated to ensure the success of VBEC. With the help of The Victoria College, the University of Houston-Victoria, Victoria Independent School District and many area businesses and individuals these programs of VBEC are currently in place. These programs are designed to assist in many aspects of a student’s success in the workforce. They also address the essential need for adult and business involvement with the education community.

VBEC is completely grant and donation funded and has a 501(c)(3) status with the Internal Revenue Service. The program currently consists of five facets; Mentor Connect, Dream Big STEM Expo, YOUth LEADership Conference, and Junior Achievement. Our mission is to bring businesses and community members together to help students complete high school prepared for the workforce, higher education or training.

Program Awards

  • In 2005, VBEC was recognized by the current Texas Secretary of Education, Dr. Shirley Neeley, as the program to become the national model.
  • In 2007, it was a finalist for the United States Community Service Award in Washington by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
  • In 2008, it received the Texas Governor’s Volunteer Award in the Community Connector Category.

Victoria should be very proud and excited about these accomplishments.

We need your help. There are many other opportunities to volunteer for VBEC. The entire program is staffed primarily by volunteers!

Thank you for all of your support. Increasing the knowledge and skills of our workforce is vital to the local economy and to our ability to compete globally. VBEC is definitely on target and is truly making a difference for the students in our region.

Who Makes Up VBEC?


Hundreds of community and business volunteers commit their time and unwavering energy to make VBEC programs and activities available to the youth in our community. Volunteers share their time to mentor students, facilitate curriculum for Junior Acheivement Classes, server as job hosts.

Board of Directors 2017

Mary Simmons, President (Citizens Medical Center)

Keith Blundell, President Emeritus (Victoria College)

Eline Moya, Vice President (City of Victoria Police Department)

Lauri Bednorz, Secretary (Victoria Independent School District)

Dr. Jeffrey Cass- Treasurer (University of Houston- Victoria)

Chris Cobler (Editor-Victoria Advocate)

Jennifer Ernst (Educator)

Judge Ben Zeller (Victoria County Judge)

Pam Neuman  (Victoria College)

Glynn Castro (Wells Fargo- Business Relations Manager)

Tamera Keller (Community Outreach, DeTar Hospital)

Heather Keller (Associate Advisor & Client Relations Rep. KMH Wealth Mgmnt)

Monica Rodriquez (Vice-President 1st Commnity Bank)

Matt Glaze (Engineer-Urban Engineering)

Advisory Directors

Dr. Susanne Carroll

Rhonda Fotiades

David Paul McLarry

Henry Guajardo

Dr. Margaret H. Rice

Roger Fleming Welder

Dr. Fred Litton

Staff Members

Lanell Mantey (Executive Director)

Peter McNally (Program Director)

Allen T. Coffey (AmeriCorp VISTA – PR Specialist)