August 1, 2019

Southwest Power Pool board promotes three to senior vice president roles

LITTLE ROCK, ARK. — Southwest Power Pool’s (SPP) executives overseeing the electric grid operator’s information technology (IT), engineering and operations functions were promoted from vice president to senior vice president roles July 31. Barbara Sugg is now the organization’s senior vice president of IT and chief security officer, Bruce Rew is now senior vice president of operations, and Lanny Nickell is now senior vice president of engineering.

“Each of these individuals has proven many times over that they possess the technical expertise, business acumen and leadership qualities that SPP needs to best serve our customers,” said president and chief executive officer Nick Brown, who announced the promotions to SPP staff on Aug. 1.

Each executive has more than two decades of experience at SPP and has worked their way through its ranks.

Sugg joined SPP’s IT department in 1997 and has served in several IT and management roles, including vice president of IT. As senior vice president of IT and chief security officer, she directs the development, architecture, implementation, monitoring, support, security and telecommunications services provided by SPP to its members and customers and is responsible for establishing IT strategy and policies.

“Being promoted to senior vice president recognizes the importance of and dependency on IT and cybersecurity at SPP,” Sugg said. “I’m both humbled and honored to lead such an amazing group of talented individuals and am proud of this recognition. The role of IT and cybersecurity will continue to grow as we face revolutionary changes in our industry.”

Since joining SPP in 1990, Rew has held several engineering and management roles, including vice president of engineering and vice president of operations. As senior vice president of operations, he 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 is also leading SPP’s western expansion, which includes contract services for reliability coordination and an energy imbalance market.

“SPP operations continues to expand in its role advancing the reliability and economics of the region for the SPP regional transmission organization, its members, and soon-to-be customers in the west,” Rew said. “This promotion is a recognition of the outstanding team of professionals I get the honor of leading on a daily basis. I look forward to continued success in managing the operational opportunities ahead for SPP.”

Nickell joined SPP in 1997 and has since served in various engineering and management roles including vice president of operations and vice president of engineering. As senior vice president of engineering, he is responsible 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.

“I’ve been blessed to lead an extremely talented engineering organization that has provided tremendous value to SPP’s stakeholders,” Nickell said. “SPP and the power grid face a future full of tremendous opportunities and rapid change. It will be increasingly important for us to anticipate the exciting changes facing our industry and do so in a way that provides increased value for our members and their customers. I look forward to working with my amazing team and our wonderful stakeholders in this expanded role to plan a future grid that can be operated reliably while delivering the lowest cost power to consumers.”

These promotions were approved by SPP’s independent board of directors and human resources committee. They come amidst a season of growth and evolution at SPP. The company has announced plans to launch new reliability coordination and an energy imbalance market in the Western Interconnection as part of its Western Energy Services initiative; the SPP board this week approved a suite of 21 recommendations from stakeholders meant to modernize its reliability, planning and markets functions; and president and CEO Nick Brown has announced his retirement effective April 2020.

About SPP:  Southwest Power Pool, Inc. manages the electric grid and wholesale energy market for the central United States. As a regional transmission organization, the nonprofit corporation is mandated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to ensure reliable supplies of power, adequate transmission infrastructure and competitive wholesale electricity prices. Southwest Power Pool and its diverse group of member companies coordinate the flow of electricity across 66,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines spanning 14 states. The company’s headquarters are in Little Rock, Arkansas. Learn more at

Derek Wingfield, 501-614-3394,