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Kuntz Retires After Serving Members for 37 Years; Turk Named Successor

  Kuntz Retires After Serving Members for 37 Years; Turk Named Successor

Kyle J. Kuntz, P.E., Chief Executive Officer and General Manager of Sam Houston Electric Cooperative, will retire on March 31, after serving the Co-op’s members for nearly 37 years.

“Sam Houston Electric Cooperative’s staff is among the best in the business, and I am confident that the Co-op will continue prioritizing exceptional service for our members,” Kuntz said. “We must provide reliable and affordable service to the members and be able to adapt to any changes that come our way.”

Kuntz’s career has been marked by continuous technological advancements during his time at the Cooperative. Moving to bucket trucks and mechanical digger trucks, as well as providing employees with computers, tablets and industry-leading technology, have all changed the services Sam Houston EC is able to provide for its members.

“Our members have been fantastic to serve,” Kuntz said. “They have been understanding of every challenge we have faced. They’ve been great when we have had large outages, and they are helpful to us and always appreciative.”

Kuntz was the 2005 recipient of the J.C. Brown Communications Leadership Award, presented by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). The award honors dedication to the importance of communication as a vital link connecting electric cooperatives with their members, and in advancing the cooperative business model.

“I will miss the people and the challenges,” Kuntz said. “Any challenge I have faced has been made easier by the good people around me, like we have at Sam Houston EC.”

Kuntz’s successor is Doug Turk. A licensed Professional Engineer, Turk was previously the General Manager of Deep East Texas Electric Cooperative in San Augustine, Texas.

“Doug is going to be excellent for the Cooperative,” according to Kuntz. “He’s smart. He has great skills, and he is a good person. The Cooperative is very fortunate to employ him.”

Turk spent 16 years at Deep East Texas EC, and worked at Wood County Electric Cooperative in Quitman, Texas before then.

“During my tenure at other East Texas cooperatives, Sam Houston EC has always been seen as a world-class cooperative,” Turk said. “It’s a progressive and service-driven organization. Its employees are well-known for their drive to provide quality service for the membership.”

Turk earned his Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Texas A&M University. He is also a graduate of National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s Robert I. Kabat Management Internship Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“Kyle did an excellent job in leading the Co-op,” Turk said. “He’s very well-known in our industry, as are many of the other members of management. They’re seen as leaders in the industry. I’m very proud to be a part of it and look forward to working with everyone.”

Turk sees several changes on the horizon for the Cooperative. One change that will have the greatest impact on our area will be the continued growth of Houston and its surrounding communities.

“I want our membership to see us as an organization that is able to evolve and continue to drive improvements on behalf of our members,” Turk said. “As our membership grows rapidly in some areas, we must adapt to serve both our new members and our existing members in the manner that they are accustomed to. At the same time, we must continue to find opportunities to improve the service we provide.”

Sam Houston Electric Cooperative has been providing electricity to East Texas since 1939. The Cooperative was founded by a handful of farmers and rural residents who dreamed of bringing “power to the people.” In the early 1940s, there were just over 600 Co-op members. Today, Sam Houston EC serves 55,000 members and 75,000 meters across parts of 10 counties.