Suanna Tumlinson, Director
Suanna Tumlinson, a successful businesswoman, was elected to the Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative board in 2011, becoming the 11th member and immediately embracing her leadership role.
She honed her decision-making skills during the years she and her husband, Kenneth, started KST Electric in their Dripping Springs basement and grew the privately-owned electrical contracting and teledata company into a firm of more than 600 employees with satellite offices in six Texas cities.
California-based Rosendin Electric acquired KST Electric in 2010. The company remains headquartered in Manor and Tumlinson and her husband are now employees of the largest 100 percent employee-owned electrical contracting business in the United States. The couple lives in the Manor area on about 50 acres of ranchland.
Tumlinson feels her ability to make informed decisions, from accounting to business development, not only brought growth to their business but also will benefit Bluebonnet.
“I have been interested in becoming a Bluebonnet board member since Mark Rose spoke about the Sustainable Grid at a Manor Chamber of Commerce banquet several years ago,” Tumlinson said. “I was intrigued by Bluebonnet’s involvement in new technology and I believe the co-op serves and supports its service area in a positive way.”
A self-proclaimed “Air Force brat,” Tumlinson was born in Germany and moved every two years until she enrolled in the Eanes Independent School District and graduated from Westlake High School, in the Austin area. After obtaining her teaching degree from Southwest Texas State University – now Texas State University – Tumlinson returned to the Eanes school district and taught special education for almost 10 years. The transition from teacher to business owner – she started KST Electric in 1994 – was not a difficult one for her; she easily moved to Manor and became an active part of the community.
Tumlinson serves on the Manor Chamber of Commerce and served one year as president. She also was Travis County Youth Fair superintendent and has served as secretary and treasurer for various youth organizations.
As a member of Bluebonnet’s board of directors, she shares responsibility for oversight of co-op business.
One of Bluebonnet’s Foundation Values is courage, and Tumlinson says she shares that value with the co-op, adding that as a woman entrepreneur, it took a lot of courage to go into a field long dominated by men.
“I believe I am successful in business, in part, because I practice honesty, and openness to suggestions and ideas of fellow employees,” Tumlinson said.
Tumlinson isn’t all business. She attends numerous University of Texas Longhorn sporting events and her favorite pastimes are needlework and crafts. She also enjoys calligraphy and creating signs, such as the KST Electric logo.
By her side is Kenneth and underfoot is her teacup Yorkshire terrier, Hazey. The couple has a son, Justin, and daughter-in-law, Kristen, and will become grandparents this year (2012).
In her first year as a director, Tumlinson earned her Credential Cooperative Director certification through the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. She wants to be a positive resource for Bluebonnet’s future distribution ideas.
“With the environmental push for alternative and renewable power sources, and constant industry change,” Tumlinson said, “I believe Bluebonnet will continue to grow technologically, as well as responsibly.”