Summit Utilities Inc., the parent company of Fort Smith-based Arkansas Oklahoma Gas Corp., announced Thursday that Kim Linam is retiring from the company, but they won’t say goodbye to her anytime soon.
Linam has been with SUI and AOG for almost 20 years. She was the first female to run AOG, serving as its chief executive officer from 2014 to 2017, when SUI acquired the Fort Smith-based regional natural gas utility that has provided service to about 60,000 customers for over 75 years.
Linam, a certified public accountant who served as the company’s chief financial officer until 2014, was not only the first female to lead the organization, she was the first non-attorney at the top post since 1978. At the time she took on the role, Linam professed to be a “behind the scenes person” but said she would always “stand up for what I think is right for AOG and our customers.”
As CEO, Linam led the company’s integration efforts when Centennial, Colo.-based SUI acquired the company in 2017, said a press release on her retirement. Following the acquisition, she assumed the role of chief administrative officer, overseeing human resources, gas control, gas supply and information technology.
“Kim has been an influential leader of this company for almost 20 years. Her time at AOG as CFO and CEO positioned AOG as the perfect partner for Summit. Kim’s mentorship, especially of the women on our team, will be greatly missed,” said Kurt Adams, SUI’s president and CEO.
Fred Kirkwood, SUI’s chief customer officer said AOG and the entire Fort Smith community has benefited from Linam’s leadership and community involvement over the years.
“From serving on the board of numerous charities to her leadership at AOG, Kim has focused on lifting up others and giving back. We wish her the best in her retirement,” Kirkwood said.
But Linam really won’t be leaving the company for at least a little bit. She has agreed to stay around for a while after her retirement, continuing to advise the company in a consultant role, said Stacie Smith, SUI public affairs associate.
As for who will be hired to fill the position, it seems that quest is going to be difficult.
“Hers are really large shoes to fill. There aren’t a lot of people as knowledgeable about finance and gas and HR, all the roles she led. So no, we do not have anyone lined up at this moment,” Smith said, noting there are no plans at the present to name Linam’s successor as chief administrative officer.
Linam has been involved in numerous organizations in the Fort Smith area over her career. Most recently she was president of the Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce and completes her term on the Chamber Executive Board later this month.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying restrictions, there are no plans for a formal celebration of Linam’s retirement, Smith said.