When he turned 18-years old, Alex Reyna set his mind up—he wanted to be a boxer. In 1992, he enlisted in the Army to pursue his goal.
From Texas to Oklahoma, to Germany and England, Reyna boxed his way to the top beating boxers from different countries, including competitors two weight classes above his. The Army’s motto, “Be All You Can Be,” helped him achieve his goal and reach others he never thought were possible.
After serving in the Army for six and a half years and earning boxing titles for more than nine years, Reyna retired his boxing gloves to take care of his family and to help keep the lights on for Texans. Being a lineman ran in his family and he was ready to continue the tradition of climbing poles and serving alongside fellow linemen.
When did you start boxing and what was it like boxing in the Army?
Tell us a little about your service in the Army.
I went to the military straight out of high school at the age of 18. For over six years, I was stationed in Germany, the United Kingdom, Oklahoma, Houston, San Antonio and Fort Hood. During my service, I kept the lights on for remote camp sites. I was also involved in Special Duty where I was able to pursue my hobby of boxing.
I started boxing when I was 15 years old. My father took me to practices and he was one of my coaches. When I was a teenager, I wasn’t a natural athlete. I had to work hard to be able to compete so I was surprised when my father suggested that I be a boxer in the military. I thought to myself, ‘No way, I could never do that!’ Then before you know it, I was boxing in the military winning matches across the world in Germany, England, Oklahoma, Arizona and Texas.
While I was serving, I set a goal to box in the Olympics and I knew if I wanted to accomplish this goal I had to do everything I could to get there. I started by trying out for the 12-man boxing team where I had to compete against a boxer on the team for his spot. I knew I wanted it more than he did and I ended up beating him and becoming a part of the team.
It was a lot of work. I’d wake up at 5 a.m. and run six miles, work out until noon then spar for over two hours. Then I would run another eight to ten miles before bed to make weight every day. These were six to 10 hour days that prepared me to box around the world. I got offered to be pro in Fort Hood at 25 years old, but had to turn it down and my dream of being in the Olympics to make a living for my family.
What was your most memorable match?
The one match I vividly remember was at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma while I was stationed in Fort Hood. I was 23 years old and I fought two weight classes above me just so I could get a match. I was so scared of this guy, he was 178 pounds and I was only 139 pounds. I thought he was going to knock me out! Turns out, this guy was more scared of me than I was of him, and I beat him in the second round. I was swinging for the fences and won.
How did boxing and the military prepare you for your current job at Oncor?
Boxing prepared me to fight for what I wanted to accomplish in life. In the Army, I was always reminded to “Be All You Can Be,” and I knew if I wanted to accomplish any goal I had to do just that. From thinking I couldn’t be a part of the boxing team in the Army to beating opponents several weight classes above me, this motto helped me accomplish goals I thought I never could.
I knew I wanted to continue to work in the power industry so I went into job placement after I served in the army. I made the first step toward becoming a fully licensed journeyman by being hired as an apprentice, then it was only three years later that I was promoted to supervisor. I worked very hard those three years, and I showed up every day because I wanted that spot, and the responsibilities that came with it. I wanted the opportunity to teach the younger guys to keep the lights on for our communities.
I’ve been a supervisor for around four years at Oncor, and I strive to be an inspiration to the other guys who want to move up, own more responsibilities and ultimately be all they can be. Even though I don’t climb the poles anymore, I get to teach and watch out for them so they do their jobs safely.
What is a day in the office like?
Our office never stays the same because we’re always out on calls and accomplishing customer-driven work orders. When we are out doing work for customers we interact directly with them and we let them know we’re not leaving until the power is restored. It’s one of my favorite things—to see the smiling faces and to hear the thank you’s, it makes the long hours worth it. We always tell each other, ‘We’ve got to go get Grandma’s lights on.’ It’s our way of saying we take care of customers like family.
So, Oncor is in the Reyna family?
Yes, my father started working here when he was 19 years old. I had no idea what he did for a living until I told him I was interested in continuing my work in the power industry after my service in the Army. It is good to know that I’ve followed in his footsteps, working the same job as he did when he was my age. Being a supervisor made me realize a valuable opportunity—to understand and know the man my father has been to me and I strive to be the example he has been to my family and his crew through the years.
My uncle also works at a service center in McKinney, and my mother’s brother retired from Oncor as well. My son, Gabriel, is now working as a contractor after his service in the military. I was able to connect him with the job placement agency that hired me and at 23 years old he is an apprentice working to become a journeyman.
Even my daughter, Isabelle, wants to work for Oncor. She’s only 12-years old.