Board of Directors
James E. (Jim) Eckelberger, Chairman
Elected April 2000
Member, Strategic Planning Committee, Corporate Governance Committee
Jim is a supply chain expert and a change manager who iteratively tackles assignments requiring the rapid improvement of a broken supply chain. Most recently he worked for Huttig Building Products, a billion dollar distributor in the wood products industry, where his focus was cutting costs and improving pricing processes. Immediately prior to working for Huttig, Jim was the Chief Executive Officer of netMercury, a newly created, entrepreneurial company providing supply chain services in the semiconductor industry. Previously, Jim was Vice President, Global Integrated Logistics Operations Supply Chain Management for Compaq Computer Corporation. Since leaving the Navy Department in 1991, Jim has also been the Vice President for Logistics at Dal-Tile, BJ's Wholesale Club, and Pace Membership Warehouse. In each case, the requirement was to fix the process and leave behind a smoothly functioning operation. For over 30 years, Jim was a naval logistician, rising to rank of Rear Admiral, and the senior aviation logistician in the Navy. A highlight of his last year on active duty with the Navy was being responsible for the very effective support for all Navy and Marine aircraft in the first Gulf War. Jim has a BS in Business from Northwestern University and a MBA from Harvard Business School.
Larry Altenbaumer, Vice Chairman
Elected July 2005
Chairman, Finance Committee (Effective April 2017)
Member, Strategic Planning Committee
Larry retired in 2004 as President of Illinois Power, a regulated electric and natural gas delivery company with approximately 650,000 customers, and Executive Vice President of Regulated Energy Delivery for Dynegy. Subsequent to his retirement, Larry has provided business advisory and consulting services to several organizations both in and outside the energy industry. Larry is also a director of MYR Group, Inc., a leading specialty contractor serving the electrical infrastructure market in the United States and serves as Board Chair for Decatur Memorial Health Systems. Larry also provides consulting support for ArcLight Capital Partners, a leading energy investment firm with nearly $7 billion of actively managed investments. Other current clients include the University of Illinois; previous clients include the former Magnum Coal Company and Potomac Edison Company. Larry also served as a judge for the Platts Global Energy Awards in 2006, 2007 and 2008. Larry received a B.S. degree in electrical engineering / computer science from the University of Illinois in 1970. He joined Illinois Power upon graduation, and in his nearly 34-year career there held various officer-level positions including Treasurer, Controller and Chief Financial Officer; Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer; and President. He was a 2003 recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Alumni Association of the University of Illinois.
Nicholas A. (Nick) Brown, President and CEO
Effective January 2004
Chairman, Corporate Governance Committee
Nick was elected President and CEO of Southwest Power Pool, Inc. (SPP) in December 2003. In his current position he is responsible for ensuring that SPP achieves its mission and goals and serves on the Board of Directors. Prior to this position Nick served SPP members as Senior Vice President and Corporate Secretary from 1999- 2003, Vice President and Corporate Secretary from 1998-99, Director, Engineering and Operations from 1993-96, Manager, Engineering Services from 1989-93, and in several engineering positions since joining the SPP Staff in 1985. Nick began his career working as a planning engineer in the System Planning Section at Southwestern Electric Power Co. Nick received BS degrees in physics and math from Ouachita Baptist University in 1981 and in electrical engineering from Louisiana Tech University in 1982. He is a member of Tau Beta Pi and Eta Kappa Nu engineering honor societies, and IEEE and NSPE technical and professional societies. Nick is a registered Professional Engineer, a Master Electrician, and instrument rated private pilot.
Phyllis E. Bernard
Elected October 2003
Member, Oversight Committee, Markets and Operations Policy Committee
Phyllis Bernard recently retired from her position as the Robert S. Kerr, Jr. distinguished professor of law and founding director of the Center on Alternative Dispute Resolution at the Oklahoma City University School of Law. She came to SPP with an extensive portfolio as a litigator, lobbyist, federal and state adjudicator, administrator and researcher focusing on the intersection between public and private interests. She transferred to the power industry years of experience earned in deregulation of the health-care industry, where she specialized in cost allocation, Wall Street capital financing, corporate reorganization, governance, business ethics and efficiency, competition and antitrust, conflicts of interest and regulatory compliance in the creation of innovative business and market structures. Phyllis mastered forensic accounting and fraud detection as an appellate administrative judge on the highest federal tribunal for big-ticket cost disputes involving institutional providers under Medicare Part A. Later, Phyllis contributed toward developing national policies on rural economic development, including telemedicine, as part of her service on the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health for the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services.
On the SPP board, Phyllis served for several years as chairwoman of the Human Resources Committee, drawing upon her private-practice experience litigating for and advising corporations on personnel, labor, discrimination law and restructuring of employee benefits; her service as a commissioner for the Oklahoma Merit Protection System; and expertise in corporate cultures under transition. She assisted in developing alternative dispute resolution (ADR) standards for use by RTOs and ISOs. Phyllis is a governance fellow of the National Association of Corporate Directors.
Phyllis is a widely published and frequent speaker on national and international issues involving consensus-building, negotiation, mediation and arbitration; and coedited the first comprehensive book on ethics in ADR. She has been honored by the American Bar Association (ABA) for her contributions to Rule of Law Projects in Africa, developing culturally appropriate court-connected ADR programs in conflict zones of Nigeria, Rwanda and Liberia. The ABA also has honored her for assistance in developing guidelines for confidentiality in federal government ADR, including FERC. Phyllis has served on the governing councils of the ABA Section on Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice; the Section on Dispute Resolution; and ABA Africa.
Bernard is a cum laude graduate of Bryn Mawr College, has a master’s degree in American History from Columbia University and received her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School with studies at the Wharton School in health-care finance. She is a member of the U.S. Supreme Court bar and a fellow of the National Association of Administrative Law Judges.
Elected April 2008
Chairman, Human Resources Committee
Member, Markets and Operations Policy Committee
Julian has a long history in the electric utility industry, including serving as president, CEO, and COO of Georgia Transmission Corporation in Tucker, Georgia; general manager of Cooperative Power in Eden Prairie, Minnesota; and general manager of Central Electric Power Cooperative in Jefferson City, Missouri. A graduate of Northwestern University, Brix began his electrical engineering career at Line Material Industries as a test engineer in the design of utility switchgear. Most recently, Brix served as executive consultant for Brix International, an independent consulting company. In this role, he assisted clients in the development of merchant transmission projects and in the evaluation of transmission systems to accommodate generation acquisitions. Additionally, Brix served as board member and co-chairman for TRANSlink Management Development Corporation, a FERC-approved independent transmission company comprised of nine investor-owned, public power, and cooperative utilities.
Elected January 2017
Member, Human Resources Committee, Strategic Planning Committee
Mark Crisson has more than 40 years of experience in the electric utility industry, with 30 of those at the senior executive level. He served as president and CEO of the American Public Power Association (APPA) in Washington, D.C., from 2007-2014. Prior to that assignment, he spent nearly 30 years with Tacoma Public Utilities, serving as its director and CEO from 1993-2007. At Tacoma, he led the electric utility through the western energy crisis in 2001. He also spearheaded Click! Network, the nation’s largest municipally owned telecommunications system.
While at Tacoma, Crisson served 10 years on the APPA board of directors and served as chairman of the board in 2003. He received the Alex Radin Distinguished Service Award in 2005 for exceptional leadership in public power. Crisson also served on the U.S. Secretary of Energy’s Electric Advisory Board; served as chairman of the Large Public Power Council; and earned numerous awards for his work in the Tacoma community, including Business Leader of the Year in 2002.
While at APPA, Crisson worked extensively with both elected and appointed federal officials and other industry stakeholders to promote the interests of public power and the broader electric utility industry. Priority activities included climate change legislation, federal environmental regulations, analysis of ISO/RTO wholesale power markets, grid reliability and cybersecurity. Upon his departure from APPA, the group recognized his achievements in 2015 by creating and presenting him its first annual Mark Crisson Leadership and Managerial Excellence Award.
Crisson’s most recent endeavors include assisting Paducah Power System by serving as its interim general manager for five months in 2014-15 and working with the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority as its deputy general manager of Electrical and IT Systems for six months in 2015-16.
Crisson served as a U.S. naval officer in the Pacific nuclear submarine fleet from 1970-1975. He then joined Tacoma Public Utilities as part of its Power Management group, where he rose to lead the Power Supply section in 1982. He left Tacoma in 1983 to serve as power manager for Martin Marietta Aluminum in Portland, Ore. In 1985, he was appointed to lead Direct Service Industries, a trade association of aluminum industries that received power directly from the Bonneville Power Administration. He returned to Tacoma in 1987 to lead Tacoma Power as its light superintendent.
Crisson received a Bachelor of Science with honors from the U.S. Naval Academy and a Master of Business Administration from Pacific Lutheran University.
T. Graham Edwards
Elected January 2016
Member, Oversight Committee, Strategic Planning Committee
T. Graham Edwards retired on Nov. 1, 2015, as the chief executive officer of ElectriCities of North Carolina, headquartered in Raleigh, N.C. Edwards joined ElectriCities as CEO in 2009 and was responsible for executive leadership of ElectriCities, North Carolina Municipal Power Agency Number 1 and North Carolina Eastern Municipal Power Agency. During his tenure, NCEMPA successfully negotiated a sale to Duke Energy of its nuclear and coal-fired assets, which resulted in a wholesale rate reduction to its members of approximately 20 percent or approximately $1.1 billion savings over the first 10 years.
Prior to joining ElectriCities, from 2006-2009 Edwards served as CEO of the Midcontinent Independent System Operator and served on the board from 2001-2009. Prior to becoming CEO, Edwards served as the board chairman in 2005.
Edwards also served as CEO and chairman of the board of Santee Cooper in South Carolina, the nation’s fourth-largest public power utility in terms of kilowatt hours sold. Santee Cooper provides power, directly or indirectly, to approximately two million customers. During his 25 years at Santee Cooper, Edwards helped position the company for competition in a deregulated environment and was one of three CEO’s that started The Energy Authority, a wholesale energy and marketing company.
In 2011, Edwards was elected to serve on the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC) board of directors, and served on the board until the company was bifurcated in 2014. He has also served on the Peak Reliability board of directors. Peak Reliability is responsible for reliability coordination for the Western Interconnection.
During Edwards’ career in public power, he served on the American Public Power Association’s board of directors and as chairman of the Large Public Power Council.
Edwards earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration from Francis Marion University in Florence, S.C., and a Master’s of Business Administration from The Citadel.
Edwards is a native of Cheraw, S.C. He has been married for 42 years and has one daughter.
Joshua W. Martin, III
Elected October 2003
Chairman, Oversight Committee
Member, Markets and Operations Policy Committee
Joshua is currently a partner in the Potter Anderson & Corroon law firm. He joined the firm’s Business Practices Group, which focuses on telecommunications and public utility issues, in March 2005. Prior to joining Potter Anderson & Corroon, Joshua served as President of Verizon Delaware Inc. and oversaw all aspects of Verizon's telecommunications business within Delaware. He first joined Verizon as Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary on January 2, 1990. Previously, Joshua was a Delaware Superior Court Judge for eight years. He served on the Delaware Public Service Commission from 1978 to 1982, including three years as Chairman. After obtaining his law degree, Joshua joined Hercules, Inc., where he was a Patent Attorney until 1982. He began his professional career as a Physicist at DuPont Company in 1966. Joshua is a leader in education as well as professional and community organizations. He holds honorary degrees from Widener University and Goldey Beacom College. He was nominated as Delawarean of the Century, in business, by Wilmington News Journal in November, 1999. He received the Arthur E. Armitage Sr., Distinguished Alumni Award from Rutgers School of Law in 1998 for service to the community and contributions to the legal profession. Born and raised in Columbia, S. Carolina, Joshua holds a bachelor's degree in physics from Case Institute of Technology, is a graduate of the Rutgers University School of Law, and completed the Wharton School Executive Development Program in l996.
Harry I. Skilton
Elected April 2000
Member, Oversight Committee
Harry most recently has been President and CEO of American Meter Company, which manufactures and markets metering and regulation equipment and systems for gas distribution companies (founded in the 1830s). Harry has over 25 years of senior executive and general management experience in Fortune 500 manufacturing companies. Specific industry experience in engineered products includes building components, material handling equipment/systems and electronic/computer components. He began his business career in financial management with Celanese Corporation becoming its Corporate Vice President and Treasurer. Harry has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University and a MBA from Harvard Business School.
Bruce A. Scherr
Elected January 2016
Member, Finance Committee, Oversight Committee
Dr. Scherr has been with Informa Economics, Inc. (formerly Sparks Companies, Inc.) from 1987 to July 2014 in several executive capacities including President and CEO and he is currently emeritus. In addition, he was an Advisor for Metalmark Capital LLC, a private equity fund. Formerly he was president of Sparks, Jacobs, Scherr, Inc. (SJS), a sister company to Sparks, and president of Agri-Commodities, Inc., an agriculture consulting firm based in Andover, Massachusetts, which was acquired by SJS. Prior to forming Agri-Commodities, Dr. Scherr was a divisional vice president at Data Resources, Inc., where he developed and utilized for the public and private sectors the first commercially available econometric model for U.S. agriculture. Dr. Scherr received his bachelor's degree from Rutgers University and his master’s and doctorate degrees from Purdue University, all in agricultural economics. Currently, he is a member of the board of the Southwest Power Pool (SPP); E. Ritter & Company; Santa Energy Company; and J. D. Heiskell & Company. Previously, he was Chairman of the Board of Legumex Walker, Inc. from 2011 through 2015 and from 2002 until February 2015 he served on the board of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC, term limited) and during that tenure he was Vice Chairman, chairman of the Finance and Audit Committee and chairman of the Compliance Committee. In addition, he served as a member of the Global Strategy Institute Advisory Council of the Center for Strategic and International Studies; as a member of the Board of Directors for Desert STAR Inc., an electrical transmission Independent System Operator for the Desert Southwest from January 2000 through February 2002; and as a member of The University of Tennessee’s (UT) Institute of Agriculture Agricultural Development Board and UT’s Committee for the Future. He was named a 2007 Distinguished Agriculture Alumni from Purdue University and he is a member of several honorary research and agricultural societies, a member of the National FFA Foundation Sponsors’ Board 2000 through 2001 and a former advisor to the President's Council of Economic Advisers and National Aeronautics and Space Administration.