If you were to ask its chief operating officer, Terra-Gen Operating Company is a large-scale utility developer, owner and operator of renewable power generation facilities.

But if you ask the folks of Tehachapi, Terra-Gen Operating Company is a business with a large heart.

That's why the Greater Tehachapi Chamber of Commerce and Tehachapi News have named the wind, geothermal and solar company Large Business of the Year for 2019.

"We were pleasantly surprised to hear that we had been picked to receive the award," said Ward Scobee, chief operating officer for Terra-Gen. "It's one of our philosophies to do the best in our communities as Terra-Gen. There is not a larger community presence that we have in our organization than in the Tehachapi/Mojave area, so to be recognized, is a great honor."

Scobee said Terra-Gen has always used the Tehachapi and Mojave areas interchangeably given that they have projects in both areas. A substantial number of its employees — approximately 90 — live in the greater Tehachapi region.

"Given that Tehachapi is our largest area of concentration of wind projects, it is an important region to us. We definitely want to focus and be consistent with our corporate objectives of being a part of our local communities," Scobee said. "Tehachapi has been a vital part of our business, and we are always happy to contribute to the various causes that are important to the community."

The main reason Terra-Gen was nominated for the award was due to its involvement with the community and the contribution it makes to many civic organizations and charities, in particular youth and senior programs.

Said Scobee, "I think that a lot of the things that we do within the community, and the thing that we rely upon, is getting input from our employees directly. So, the things that they become passionate about locally in our community are the things that we try to stand by and support."

In her letter nominating Terra-Gen for the honor, Stephanie Garcia praised Terra-Gen for its sponsorship of the Rotary Club's Senior Holiday Luncheon.

"They stepped in to sponsor and help give the senior citizens of Tehachapi who may not be fortunate enough to afford holiday meals or have family to spend it with, a day full of friendship and love," wrote Garcia. "Not only did they sponsor the senior luncheon, some of their employees went above and beyond and organized care boxes donated by their employees and Tehachapi community members for the local seniors that included toiletries, puzzles, books, pantry items, blankets, socks and so much more."

According to Garcia, Terra-Gen "is a great asset to Tehachapi."

Other contributions Terra-Gen has made to the community are awarding scholarships to Tehachapi High School seniors annually, as well as sponsorships to the Tehachapi Robotics Club, Tehachapi High School yearbook, Tehachapi Little League, Youth Football, AYSO 479 Soccer, Trojans Softball Club, Space Challenge and Warrior Booster Club.

"Not only are they generous to our local schools, they support local community organizations as well," wrote Garcia.

Other organizations supported by Terra-Gen include the Tehachapi Mountain Rodeo Association, City of Tehachapi's Adopt a Lanscape Program and Adopt a Flag Program, Main Street's Trunk or Treat, California Highway Patrol Senior Volunteer Program, Wreaths Across America, and the annual Christmas Parade and Mountain Festival, among others.

Said Scobee, "A lot of companies can come in and just push money around and try to give gifts here and there. One of the things that is unique about us, especially given our team there, is that a lot of the things that they are behind, that's what we try to focus in on."

Scobee said Terra-Gen is not only concerned about giving monetary donations to the organizations that its employees are passionate about, but also giving of their time.

"That obviously doesn't come from the corporate entity," he said. "It comes from the individuals that are there locally."

According to Chamber President Ida Perkins, Terra-Gen Operating Company is an amazing asset to the greater Tehachapi community.

"They provide generous support to so many in our community from nonprofit organizations to youth programs and much more. We look forward to honoring them as the 2019 Tehachapi Large Business of the Year," said Perkins.