The Bluebonnet Executive Team

Our team of executives is in charge of Bluebonnet's daily operations. Together, they have decades of experience in the public utilities industry.

Everything at Bluebonnet is done with teamwork. Since 1939, Bluebonnet has been known as a good electric cooperative with a solid record of reliable electric service. But since 2002, when it began an extensive modernization program, Bluebonnet has become one of the most progressive electric utilities in the nation, with technology second to none.

Everyone at Bluebonnet - the Directors, the executive team and all employees - worked to make the transition and understood how it would benefit the members. In less than a decade, Bluebonnet adopted new, innovative technologies and significantly improved every aspect of its business. Today, advanced meters are read remotely every day. Mobile data and GPS technology allow Bluebonnet's employees to work more efficiently, build and design new power lines, and restore power faster than ever during outages. Member service representatives have the tools and resources necessary to meet our members' needs. Cutting-edge data management systems enable members to monitor their energy use in hourly increments. Finally, Bluebonnet's facilities and equipment - from buildings to trucks to transformers - are first class. All these improvements benefit Bluebonnet's members.

With technology in the electric industry evolving at such a rapid pace, our journey is ongoing. Our outstanding executive team keeps Bluebonnet well positioned to meet current and future challenges.

Meet the Executives

General Manager/Chief Executive Officer
Matt Bentke


Matt Bentke became Bluebonnet’s fifth general manager in July 2016. He began his Bluebonnet career in 2000 and has served as Manager of Finance, Manager of System Operations, Chief Operating Officer and Deputy General Manager. Matt serves as vice chairman on the Brenham Economic Development Foundation's board of directors and the board of directors of GenTex Power Corporation, which owns the Lost Pines 1 Power Plant in Bastrop. He is also the secretary/treasurer of the Lower Colorado River Authority's Rates and Resources Council.

Matt was born and raised in Washington County. He graduated from Texas A&M University in 1995 with a Bachelor of Business Administration/Management degree. He is passionate about service to Bluebonnet's members and communities, being outdoors, and living a healthy lifestyle. He loves spending time with his kids and participating in all of their athletic endeavors. He and his wife, Rachel, and their two children live in Brenham.

Matt on Bluebonnet’s commitment to its members and communities:
At Bluebonnet, service to our members and communities comes above all else. The core aspects of our business; safety, reliability, cost competitiveness and environmental stewardship will never be compromised. But serving our members will always come first. It’s what we do every day. That’s what sets us apart from other companies.

Whether restoring power, building power lines, guiding members on bill payment or our online services, our purpose – as it has been since 1939 – is to work and care for our members. The product just happens to be electricity. Bluebonnet’s employees created and insist on a culture that empowers them to be leaders in that commitment to members, communities and one another. I have the great pleasure and honor to serve with them in such a fine organization.

Matt's personal energy-saving practice: Information leads to action. Knowing and understanding how and when you use energy is key to making the best energy choices for your lifestyle. Through our website, our members have all the information they need to be smart consumers of energy.

Chief Financial Officer
Elizabeth Kana


As Chief Financial Officer, Elizabeth Kana works to ensure that Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative maintains a strong, sound financial position. She leads the co-op's strategic business planning, accounting, forecasting and budgeting. Her team makes sure Bluebonnet has the finances to maintain and grow electric power, implement the technology that members expect and still have competitive electricity rates. Before coming to Bluebonnet, Elizabeth worked in public accounting for the construction and underground utility industries and then moved to the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) in 1988. There, she was corporate accounting supervisor, overseeing monthly and annual financial statements and serving as corporate liaison for the LCRA Water Services business. She has been the CFO of Bluebonnet since 2002. Elizabeth, who grew up in the small South Texas town of Bruni, holds a degree in accounting from Southwest Texas State University and has been a certified public accountant since 1982. She and her husband, Roy, live in Bastrop and have four children and four grandchildren.

Elizabeth on Bluebonnet's Foundation Values: Safety, Courage, Respect, Reliability, Community and Love.

If we treat each other with respect and compassion, I think we'll all love our jobs, and therefore do our best at work and in our communities.

Elizabeth's personal energy-saving practice: Follows her grandchildren to make sure the lights are off in rooms that aren't being used, adjusts the AC and heat when leaving the house, and tracks her consumption using Bluebonnet's mobile app.

General Counsel
Sarah Newman-Altamirano


Sarah Elizabeth Newman-Altamirano serves as General Counsel for Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative. She has a strong background in state and federal regulatory compliance, employment law, corporate governance, contract preparation and negotiation, intellectual property and commercial litigation. Sarah has been named three times as a Texas Rising Star, a designation by the Super Lawyer rating system for the top two percent of Texas lawyers younger than 40. Before joining Bluebonnet, Sarah worked for several private law firms and was senior vice president and general counsel of GECU, one of the largest credit unions in El Paso. Sarah, who grew up in Norman, Okla., earned a degree in criminology and Spanish from the University of Oklahoma and holds a law degree from Southern Methodist University. She is a member of Ascension Catholic Church in Bastrop and volunteers for Women LEAD, a nonprofit organization that offers leadership training for women in Nepal. She and her husband, Sergio, live in Bastrop and have 2 daughters.

Sarah on Bluebonnet's Foundation Values: Safety, Courage, Respect, Reliability, Community and Love.

I want to be a reliable member of our team, both for our members and employees; I want to have the answer they need in the time they need it. I also feel very strongly about LOVE. Because we spend most of our waking hours at work, it is important that we not only love our jobs, but also have a sense of love for those we work with and the working environment we all collaborate to create.

Sarah's personal energy-saving practice: Runs dishwasher and washing machine in the late evenings, uses energy efficient light bulbs, and keeps thermostat at 78 degrees in summer and 68 degrees in winter.

Chief Information Officer/Controller
Grant Gutierrez


Grant Gutierrez serves as Chief Information Officer and Controller for Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative. He oversees information technology strategy and operations, finance, accounting and billing services. His work directly affects co-op members in the areas of cost savings, setting electricity rates, monthly billing, power supply management, and technology options that help members more easily and efficiently interact with Bluebonnet. Grant, who grew up in Bastrop, is a Certified Public Accountant. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees in accounting from Texas A&M University. Before joining Bluebonnet in 2005, Grant worked for Ernst & Young (EY), a global accounting and professional services firm. He and his wife, Krystel, live in Smithville and have three daughters. Grant is on the Board of Trustees of the Smithville Independent School District, is a member of the district's site-based planning committee, and is a member of the Knights of Columbus.

Grant on Bluebonnet's Foundation Values: Safety, Courage, Respect, Reliability, Community and Love.

Transparency is very important to us. As a member-owned cooperative, we respect our members' right to know how we are running their company. We invite their input so that we may continue to provide safe, reliable power and the best possible member service. We also respect our employees and empower them to make decisions and propose changes to management in order to improve every way, every day.

Grant's personal energy-saving practice: Dramatic adjustments to your thermostat when away from home can increase electric consumption and increase demand when you return, especially during peak utility consumption periods.

Chief Engineer/System Operations Officer
Eric Kocian


Eric Kocian keeps the electricity flowing as Chief Engineer and System Operations Officer at Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative. He leads the team of employees who are responsible for the planning, design, construction and maintenance of the Bluebonnet electric system. He makes sure the electric system is safe, reliable and efficient while developing processes to reduce repair time when power outages occur. Eric began his energy career in 1994 as an engineer for Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative in Gonzales. He joined Bluebonnet in 2003 as manager of engineering. Eric, who grew up in Wharton, holds a degree in electrical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and a master's in business administration from Prairie View A&M University. Eric and his wife, Karissa, have two children and live in La Grange.

Eric on Bluebonnet's Foundation Values: Safety, Courage, Respect, Reliability, Community and Love.

Respect is not only about how you treat people, but also about educating yourself to know what employees are doing, thinking and feeling so you can help them be successful. Asking others to educate themselves and educating yourself about these things then enables you to maximize teamwork and produce the best product and service for the member.

Eric's personal energy-saving practice: Runs household appliances at off-peak times.

Chief Administrative Officer
Rachel Ellis


As Chief Administrative Officer, Rachel Ellis oversees human resources, member services, facilities, safety and administration for Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative. She has more than 17 years of experience in the electric utility field. She also is Bluebonnet's liaison with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Rachel began working at Bluebonnet in 1997 as a human resources clerk and worked her way up as executive assistant, business manager and administrative services manager. Rachel lives in Giddings and attends St. Edward's University in Austin, where she is pursuing a degree in organizational communication with a minor in public safety. She is active in community events in Giddings, where she attended high school, and is involved in her children’s sporting events and extracurricular activites. She and her husband, Phillip, have two children.

Rachel on Bluebonnet's Foundation Values: Safety, Courage, Respect, Reliability, Community and Love.

Bluebonnet's core values create a family environment with a team focus that allows employees to work toward the same goals.

Rachel's personal energy-saving practice: Uses natural light instead of electric lights when possible.

Manager of Community and Development Services
Johnny Sanders


Bastrop native Johnny Sanders is Manager of Community and Development Services for Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative. He and his team represent Bluebonnet throughout the year by working and providing resources to area public events. Johnny and the community and economic development representatives, whom he supervises, work closely with commercial and large Bluebonnet customers to keep their power running safely and properly. They also help people who want to create or expand a business by putting people in the public and private sectors in touch so the city and county development process works efficiently. Johnny and his team run the Bluebonnet programs for youth, including scholarships and academic education and for trade and technical schools, government youth tours and electric safety presentations in schools and the community. Johnny studied business management at North Texas State University and the University of Texas at Austin. He was a Bastrop county commissioner for nearly 16 years, developing subdivision regulations and working with developers to improve guidelines. He also served on the Bastrop city council, was president of the Bastrop school board and holds a real estate broker's license. He and his wife, Shawnda, have two daughters and one grandchild and live in Bastrop, where Johnny's family has lived for four generations. Johnny was voted Man of the Year in 2013 by the Bastrop Chamber of Commerce.

Johnny on Bluebonnet's Foundation Values: Safety, Courage, Respect, Reliability, Community and Love.

As a member-owned utility, Bluebonnet's Community Foundation Value exemplifies the commitment we feel to serve our members and the communities in which we live and work. We see our jobs as much more than providing safe, reliable power; we strive to make our communities better in every aspect.

Johnny's personal energy-saving practice: I only eat fast food so I don't heat up the kitchen at home.