Leadership

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Larry Altenbaumer, Chair

Elected July 2005

Chair, Strategic Planning Committee
Member, Corporate Governance 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 also is a director of MYR Group, Inc., a leading specialty contractor serving the electrical infrastructure market in the United States and serves as board chairman 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, he 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.

T. Graham Edwards, Vice Chair

Elected January 2016

Member, Oversight Committee

T. Graham Edwards retired on Nov. 1, 2015, as the chief executive officer of ElectriCities of North Carolina, headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina. 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 Graham served as CEO of the Midcontinent Independent System Operator and served on the board from 2001-2009. Prior to becoming CEO, Graham served as the board chairman in 2005.

Graham 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, Graham 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, Graham 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 Graham’s 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.

Graham earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration from Francis Marion University in Florence, South Carolina., 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.

Nick BrownNicholas A. (Nick) Brown, President and CEO

Effective January 2004

Chair, Corporate Governance Committee

Nick was elected president and CEO of Southwest Power Pool, Inc. 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 bachelor's 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

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 co-edited 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.

Phyllis 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.

Julian Brix

Elected April 2008

Chair, Human Resources 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, Julian began his electrical engineering career at Line Material Industries as a test engineer in the design of utility switchgear. Most recently, Julian 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, Julian 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.

Susan Certoma

Elected January 2019

Member, Finance Committee

After a successful 30-year career in finance, Susan is the president of Enterprise Engineering, a financial technology firm that provides software solutions and consulting to top-tier financial firms. Susan is responsible for the company’s services and software businesses. Previously, she was president of wealth and markets solutions at Broadridge Financial, chief information officer (CIO) at Wachovia Bank’s corporate and investment bank, technology vice president at Goldman Sachs, technology director at Merrill Lynch and technology vice president at Lehman Brothers. Susan received her Bachelor of Science in management and economics and her Master of Business Administration in finance from St. John’s University.

Mark Crisson

Elected January 2017

Member, Human Resources 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, Mark 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. Mark 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, Mark 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.

Mark'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.

Mark 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, Oregon. 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.

Mark received a Bachelor of Science with honors from the U.S. Naval Academy and a Master of Business Administration from Pacific Lutheran University.

James E. (Jim) Eckelberger, Director Emeritus

Elected 2000

Member, Markets and Operations Policy Committee, Strategic Planning 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 bachelor's degree in business from Northwestern University and a MBA from Harvard Business School.

Joshua W. Martin, III

Elected October 2003

Chair, Oversight 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 Jan. 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, South 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 1996.

Darcy Ortiz

Elected January 2019

Member, Oversight Committee

Darcy is a proven technology leader who has focused on strategy and operations throughout her career. As Intel Corporation’s vice president and general manager of corporate services, she is responsible for the company’s facilities worldwide, including construction, building services, environmental health and safety, security and real estate strategy. Before assuming her current role, she was information technology vice president and manufacturing IT general manager, where she led the global team responsible for IT operations and services for Intel’s factories worldwide. She previously served Intel as general manager of the CIO strategy office, chief of staff to the chief operating officer, IT director and IT infrastructure manager. Ortiz received her bachelor’s degree in business administration in management information systems from the University of New Mexico and her Master of Business Administration from the University of California, Berkeley.

Bruce ScherrBruce A. Scherr

Elected January 2016

Chair, Finance Committee

Bruce 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, Bruce 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. Bruce 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 2011-2015, and from 2002-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-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.

Harry I. Skilton, Director Emeritus

Elected April 2000

Member, Markets and Operations Policy Committee, Strategic Planning 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 bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Cornell University and a MBA from Harvard Business School. 

MEMBERS COMMITTEE

COOPERATIVES

Tom Christensen
Basin Electric Power Cooperative 

Duane Highley
Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc.

Stuart Lowry
Sunflower Electric Power Corporation

Zac Perkins
Tri-County Electric Cooperative, Inc. 

Mike Wise
Golden Spread Electric Cooperative, Inc. 

FEDERAL AGENCIES

Jody Sundsted
Western Area Power Administration

INDEPENDENT TRANSMISSION COMPANY

Brett Leopold
ITC Great Plains, LLC

INVESTOR-OWNED UTILITIES

Brent Baker
Liberty Utilities/Empire District

David Hudson
SPS/XcelEnergy

Bleau LaFave
NorthWestern Energy 

Greg McAuley
Oklahoma Gas & Electric

Kevin Noblet
Kansas City Power & Light Company

Peggy Simmons
Public Service Company of Oklahoma

MUNICIPALS

Jeff Knottek
City Utilities of Springfield, Missouri

David Osburn
Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority

IPP/MARKETERS

Robert Janssen
Dogwood Energy, LLC

Kevin Smith
Tenaska Power Services Co.

Holly Carias
NextEra Energy Resources

STATE AGENCIES

Thomas J. (Tom) Kent
Nebraska Public Power District

Joe Lang
Omaha Public Power District

OFFICERS

 

Nick BrownNick Brown

President and CEO

Nick Brown was elected president and CEO of SPP in 2003. In his current position, he serves in the board of directors and is responsible for ensuring that SPP achieves its mission and goals.

Prior to this position, Nick served SPP members as senior vice president and corporate secretary from 1999-2003; vice president and corporate secretary from 1998-1999; director, engineering and operations from 1993-96; manager, engineering services from 1989-1993; and in several engineering positions since joining the SPP staff in 1985. Nick began his career as a planning engineer at Southwestern Electric Power Company.

Nick received Bachelor of Science degrees in physics and math from Ouachita Baptist University and in electrical engineering from Louisiana Tech University. He is a graduate of Harvard Business School’s Advance Management Program. A registered professional engineer and master electrician, Nick is a member of Tau Beta Pi and Eta Kappa Nu engineering honor societies, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the National Society of Professional Engineers.

Nick has served on the board of directors of the Electric Power Research Institute and has served on numerous organizational groups of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation over the past 30 years.

Michael DesselleMichael Desselle

Vice President, Chief Compliance and Administrative Officer

As vice president of process integrity and chief compliance and administrative officer, Michael Desselle is responsible for ensuring the organization’s adherence to a process driven environment, interregional initiatives and quality and process improvement efforts. Additionally, he is responsible for assisting with the creation, internal communication, execution and maintenance of corporate strategic initiatives and consequently oversees a broad spectrum of organizational, regional and national activities to ensure the consistency, internal coordination and communication with the corporate strategic plans.

Michael has over 30 years of experience in the energy industry. He began his career as a planning analyst for Cajun Electric Power Cooperative. From 1985-1992, while at Price Waterhouse, Michael managed and performed utility regulatory, financial and general consulting for clients in the gas, electric, water and wastewater industries. He joined Central and South West Services in 1992 and was responsible for supporting corporate initiatives, strategies and positions.

Michael joined SPP in 2006. He serves as chairman and CEO of the North American Energy Standards Board (NAESB) and liaison for NAESB to the board of trustees of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation. Michael holds a bachelor’s degree in operations research from Louisiana State University.

Tom Dunn

Senior Vice President, Finance; Chief Financial Officer

Tom Dunn serves as chief financial officer and vice president of finance. He is responsible for the activities of accounting, settlements, credit, human resources, facilities and security.

Prior to joining SPP in 2001, Tom served as vice president of commercial banking for U.S. Bank in Little Rock, where he managed a portfolio of large corporate commercial banking relationships. In total, Tom has 14 years of experience in commercial and mortgage banking. Tom has also earned the Chartered Financial Analyst designation from the CFA Institute.

Carl Monroe

Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

As executive vice president and chief operating officer, Carl Monroe is responsible for 24-7 operations in four areas: reliability coordination of the transmission system in the SPP footprint, minute-by-minute provision of transmission service, scheduling of transmission service and operation of a real-time energy market. Carl also is responsible for planning and engineering for transmission including long-term and short-term transmission service. Carl also is responsible for information technology and market development and design.

Prior to joining SPP in 1997, Carl served with Entergy of New Orleans in various positions including manager of forecasting and manager of EMS advanced applications. Prior to joining Entergy, Carl worked as an engineer in the system operations department at Union Electric Company.

Lanny Nickell

Senior Vice President, Engineering

Lanny Nickell serves SPP as senior vice president of engineering with responsibility for ongoing development of SPP’s Transmission Expansion Plan, tracking costs and statuses of all approved SPP transmission expansion projects, administration of long-term transmission service and generator interconnection processes, and performance of engineering studies as necessary to support the needs of SPP members, federal and state regulators and other departments within SPP. He has also served as vice president, operations and in various management and engineering roles within the operations department since joining SPP in 1997.

Prior to joining SPP, Lanny served in various engineering roles with Public Service Company of Oklahoma and Central and South West Services.

Bruce Rew

Senior Vice President, Operations

Bruce Rew serves as senior vice president of operations and is responsible for SPP’s real-time operations, operational planning and analysis support of all reliability coordination, market operations, tariff administration and scheduling functions. He has also served as vice president of engineering and in several management and engineering positions since joining SPP in 1990.

Bruce's notable projects include assisting SPP’s Regional State Committee in developing a process for allocating transmission costs region-wide, developing tariff language allowing customers to fund transmission projects and implementing SPP’s first energy management and tariff billing system.

Prior to joining SPP, Bruce served in the United States Air Force as a member of a nuclear missile launch crew. He is a registered professional engineer.

Mike RossMike Ross

Senior Vice President, Government Affairs and Public Relations

As senior vice president for government affairs and public relations, Mike Ross leads SPP’s government affairs at the federal level and the 14-state region it serves and has responsibility for external affairs, media relations and corporate communications for the company.

He joined SPP in 2013, after serving six terms in the U.S. House of Representatives from Arkansas’ Fourth Congressional District, including as a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and its Energy Subcommittee. Mike was also a member of the House Financial Services Committee and was vice president of NATO Parliamentary Assembly. Before serving in the U.S. Congress, he spent 10 years in the Arkansas State Senate and was a small business owner. He is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.  

Malinda SeeMalinda See

Vice President, Corporate Services

As vice president of corporate services, Malinda provides overall human resource strategic leadership to the organization. She is directly responsible for all aspects of human resources, payroll, facilitates and administrative services for Southwest Power Pool. She oversees the development and implementation of human resource policies, programs and services, including employee relations, employment practices, compensation and benefits, recruitment and orientation, training and development, retention, legal compliance and procedures, and employee communications. Malinda also has oversight of the development and implementation of all aspects of facility management and administrative services, including meeting and event planning.

Malinda has 30 years of experience in the electric utility industry. She joined SPP in 1985 as systems programmer and has served in a variety of roles within the organization. Malinda holds a bachelor's degree from Hendrix College, an executive MBA from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and has a senior professional in human resources (SPHR) designation. 

Barbara Sugg

Senior Vice President, Information Technology; Chief Security Officer

As senior vice president of IT, Barbara Sugg directs the development, architecture, implementation, monitoring, support, security and telecommunications services provided by SPP to its members and customers. She is responsible for establishing IT strategy and policies and developing the IT leadership team; the department has over 140 employees.

Barbara has 28 years of IT experience in the electric utility industry. She joined SPP in 1997 as a senior IT specialist, focused on application development and maintenance for computer systems in support of tariff administration, reliability coordination and regional energy scheduling. She has been a member of the SPP management team since 1999 and became vice president of information technology in 2010.

Paul Suskie

Executive Vice President, Regulatory Policy and General Counsel

Paul Suskie serves SPP as executive vice president of regulatory policy and general counsel. He is responsible for managing the organization’s legal and regulatory policy groups and serves as corporate secretary.

Prior to joining SPP, he was appointed by Gov. Mike Beebe as chairman of the Arkansas Public Service Commission and a member of the Governor’s cabinet — positions in which he served from 2007-2010. At the time of his appointment to the Commission, he was in his third elected term as North Little Rock’s city attorney. Prior to joining the city attorney’s office, Paul worked for former United States Sen. David Pryor and for Arkansas Attorney General Winston Bryant. Paul is a colonel in the Army Reserve where he serves in the JAG Corps. He has served as a military judge for the Arkansas Army National Guard and is a veteran of both wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.