Employee Spotlight: Randi Sue Surratt Changes Lives, Strengthens Communities Implementing Renewable Energy Infrastructure in Texas
June 29, 2022
When Randi Sue Surratt is in charge, everybody wins. This expert facilitator and problem solver changes lives every day in her role managing renewable energy engineering projects for Ulteig, ensuring that every stakeholder emerges from a project stronger than when it began.
Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas – How can renewable energy infrastructure bring strength and opportunity to the communities in which it is built? According to Randi Sue Surratt, renewables and community support are inseparable — one simply cannot exist without the other.
Randi Sue joined Ulteig about one year ago as Project Management Supervisor for Renewables. In her role, she serves as a liaison for all stakeholders in renewable energy projects, including battery storage, solar and wind projects. Randi Sue supervises a team of 12 colleagues who are located throughout the United States – California, Denver, Austin, Saint Paul, Fargo and more – who collectively oversee preliminary, full scope and studies engineering design of approximately 350 renewable projects at once.
Randi Sue’s job is more than simply a means to an end. She is driven by purpose, and she values the immediate, economic “ripple effect” that renewable energy infrastructure grants local communities. At the same time, she values the world-changing difference that renewable energy can have on the environment, climate change and global warming.
“Renewable projects bring valuable resources to areas, especially in Texas, that lack a catalyst that can spur growth for local communities,” said Randi Sue, who was born and raised in a small ranching community in the Panhandle of Texas. “These large renewable projects can inject new vitality and energy into local communities and create new income opportunities for local landowners.”
As far as the impact of renewable energy goes, Randi Sue believes that diverse solutions will be the key to sustaining the sector. “The need for renewable energy is not going away, and it’s going to be very important to stay diverse in terms of what kind of energy we utilize. More than ever before, communities rely on the connections that bring infrastructure, services and information to their communities. The Ulteig teams are continually developing engineering solutions by designing, planning, building, sustaining and maintaining the interconnected infrastructure that is vital for the future.”
After beginning her career in hospitality right out of high school, she went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in business management from West Texas A&M University College of Business, then jumped headfirst into project management within the renewables industry. “In the Panhandle, career choices are extremely limited,” she said. “So, I got into renewables, and I love it.”
Randi Sue earned 10 years of experience managing renewable projects at various construction companies before a colleague of hers transferred to Ulteig. Inspired by her friend’s reviews of the great culture and her pleas for Randi Sue to join the team, Randi Sue officially made the transition in June 2021.
“Ulteig is the crisscross in my heart between hospitality and the Renewables Lifeline Sector where I am able to connect my past project client contacts with innovative, customer driven engineering solutions,” said Randi Sue. “In my short time at Ulteig, I’ve met so many incredible people who are driven by integrity – just like me. I have yet to find a human at Ulteig who I don’t really respect. The people here are dear to my heart, and I hope I’m hanging out with Ulteig for a long time. The culture is something truly rare and I won’t take it for granted.”
For Randi Sue, integrity is non-negotiable. “In the work I do, my name is stamped all the way down to the dirt of any given project. I don’t really care how much money I get paid or what title I have, but I do care that when my name’s attached – integrity is at the core of the job, and the people involved have become better through it.”
Having an Impact on Real Folks
Randi Sue’s values are rooted in her deep understanding of how the large-scale projects she manages impact every single member of a community.
“I am a sixth-generation Texan, and very proud of it. Renewables is so important to me because my family has a lot of agricultural and cattle farming land, heavily concentrated in the Panhandle of Texas. When I first started working, we built a 3-Phase, 516 MW Wind project with transmission line through Oldham County, and literally, on the land owned by my family. It was a game changer for our family and for the people in my community,” said Randi Sue.
“I believe renewable energy can change lives for the better and so I believe I need to be a steward, of sorts, in helping communities embrace renewable energy. Having a new industry come into my community has changed the lives of many people,” she continued. “I can tell you individual names and stories of the people this work has impacted and will impact for generations.”
A Problem Solver at Heart
Outside of work, Randi Sue, who lives on acreage seated north of Fort Worth, Texas (which she affectionately refers to as, “the middle of nowhere”) bustles with activity. Between her five children and eight grandchildren, she has a “big, sweet pile of humans that I take care of.” In general, she lives her life professionally and personally by applying the Texas spirit – Guts, Grit and Gumption – and it has worked so far.
Born with a mind built to create strong connections and solve problems, Randi Sue spends much of her free time messing with flowers, riding motorcycles, restoring old cars and playing poker. At one point earlier in her life, she was a professional poker player in the World Series of Poker Circuit.
Her current project? Restoring a 1954 Chevy Coupe “Gasser”, which she fondly named ‘Dandelion’ after her grandmother’s old saying, “Bloom where you’re planted,” a life philosophy she keeps near and dear to her heart.
Emboldened by that advice throughout her own life journey, Randi Sue has more words of wisdom for the next generation of professionals in the world of renewables:
“I would tell my 20-year-old self to stay on course and stay focused on the people. If you follow the heart of people, you really can’t go wrong,” she said. “That’s a life I can stand on and a pretty good guide for your course.”
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