Leadership

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

 

John Cupparo, Chair

Elected January 2022; term ends December 2024

Chair, Strategic Planning Committee
Member, Human Resources Committee

Until late 2019, John A. Cupparo was a senior executive at Berkshire Hathaway Energy focused on customer-first priorities and remaining competitive in an evolving energy industry. Previously, Mr. Cupparo was President & CEO of BHE U.S. Transmission, pursuing competitive transmission solutions, representing Berkshire Hathaway Energy on two joint venture boards and establishing development ventures with major western entities.

In other roles at Berkshire Hathaway Energy, Mr. Cupparo led a $6 billion transmission investment program in the western United States. He was an active board member of the Western Electricity Coordinating Council focusing on regional planning, finance and the reliability coordination task force. Mr. Cupparo also was co-chair of the Northern Tier Transmission Group, a regional planning entity covering a multi-state western footprint. Prior to his transmission responsibilities, Mr. Cupparo served as the Chief Information Officer at PacifiCorp until 2006. In this role, Mr. Cupparo led a service-oriented technology organization of 500+ employees supporting the entire breadth of the vertical integrated utility including customer service, outage management, generation, commercial & trading, infrastructure and cyber security.

Mr. Cupparo began his career at Texaco and later worked for Koch Industries supporting the natural gas, power and pipeline businesses. He earned a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems from Colorado State University. Mr. Cupparo served on the Junior Achievement board for Oregon and SW Washington focusing on economic empowerment through education for young people. He was a member of the board task force responsible for structuring and delivering the Finance Park initiative.

Elizabeth Moore, Vice Chair

Elected October 2020; term ends December 2026

Member, Human Resources Committee
Member, Oversight Committee

Elizabeth Moore has more than 30 years of experience in the regulatory and energy industry. She recently served as senior vice president and general counsel for Consolidated Edison, Inc. (Con Ed), one of the largest investor-owned utilities in the nation. Prior to her role at Con Ed, she was an attorney at American Express, a partner at Nixon Peabody LLP and she served as counsel to New York Governor Mario Cuomo. Moore received a law degree from St. John’s University and earned an undergraduate degree in labor relations from Cornell University.

Black Enterprise named Moore one of the “Most Powerful Women in Corporate America” in 2019, and in 2015, she was named to the Savoy list of Top Black Lawyers and to the Lawyers of Color Fourth Annual Power List. In 2013, she received the 11th Annual Ida B. Wells-Barnett Justice Award from the New York County Lawyers’ Association and the Metropolitan Black Bar Association. The Network Journal honored her as one of the “25 Influential Black Women in Business,” and the Association of Black Women Attorneys recognized her as a “Leader for a New Century.” Moore currently serves as Director Emeritus on Cornell University’s Board of Trustees.

Barbara Sugg

Elected January 2020

Chair, Corporate Governance Committee
Member, Strategic Planning Committee

Barbara Sugg joined Southwest Power Pool in 1997 and has served as President and Chief Executive Officer since April 2020. Barbara leads SPP’s strategic efforts across a multi-state footprint to work together to responsibly and economically keep the lights on, today and in the future. Prior to this position, she served SPP as Senior Vice President of IT and Chief Security Officer, leading complex and strategic technology initiatives while protecting SPP from cyber risk.

Barbara participates in several industry organizations and serves on a number of community and philanthropic boards. She is the founder of the Leadership Foundation for Women and is also a certified executive coach.

Barbara is a proud Ragin’ Cajun, holding a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She is an alumni of Harvard Business School, having completed the Advanced Management Program. Barbara is married with 2 children and 2 grandchildren and resides with her husband in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Bronwen Bastone

Elected January 2020; term ends December 2025

Chair, Human Resources Committee

Bronwen Bastone has nearly 20 years of human resources and human capital strategy experience, spending over half of that time in financial services. She began her career on the business side, first with Merrill Lynch and then with Robertson Stephens. From 2002-2013, Bastone was senior managing director and chief human resources officer for Knight Capital Group reporting to the Global CEO and served as secretary to the Compensation Committee of the Board of Directors. From 2014-mid 2017, Bastone held roles at Cushman & Wakefield and Brookfield Property Group, respectively. In 2017, Bastone became a Partner at Exos Financial. Exos has built a next-gen platform for B2B institutional finance, a platform designed to deliver all the services of a traditional investment bank, reimagined and tailored to a modern digital world, all integrated into a powerful, modern technology platform driven by data and data science.

Susan Certoma

Elected January 2019; term ends December 2024

Member, Finance Committee 
Member, Corporate Governance Committee

Susan Certoma is an executive leading next-generation businesses and developing innovative technology solutions for Financial Services and other industries for over 30 years. In her leadership roles, Certoma has been responsible for managing businesses and global technology organizations.

Certoma serves on the board of Union Savings Bank and is a member of the Risk, Loan and Governance committees. In addition, she serves on strategic advisory boards for multiple start-ups.

Previously, Certoma was president of Enterprise Engineering, Inc. (EEI) with responsibility for the strategic consulting and software businesses. Prior to this role, she was president of the Wealth & Markets Division at Broadridge. Certoma also served as the global CIO for the Corporate & Investment Bank at Wachovia Bank before her position at Broadridge. Prior to this, Certoma held senior leadership positions at Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch.

In prior years, Certoma served on the board of Direct Edge Stock Exchange, the board of the Connecticut Make-A-Wish Foundation, and the board of the Enterprise Data Management Council.

Certoma was recognized by Forbes as one of the top 25 Women in Technology. She was also a Gold Book Honoree by Wall Street & Technology, one of the Women Worth Watching by Profiles in Diversity Journal and selected for Women in STEAM, Inviting Arkansas.

Certoma is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of St. John’s University with a bachelor's in management/economics and an MBA in finance. She has also completed special study programs at Dartmouth College, Yale University, UNC Chapel Hill and Wharton.

Irene Dimitry

Elected January 2024; term ends December 2026

Irene M. Dimitry retired in 2020 as Vice President of Renewable Energy at DTE Energy. During her 26+ years at the company, Irene held increasing leadership assignments in areas such as Marketing, Business Planning, Customer Service, Electric Operations, Energy Efficiency, Integrated Resource Planning, and Corporate Strategy.

In her final role at DTE, Irene led the launch and subsequent daily operations of the company’s renewable energy business. Under her leadership, this business grew to a $75+ million annual net income business with over $3 billion in renewable asset investments. Irene had full profit and loss responsibility for this business unit including business development, regulatory affairs, communications, strategic planning, construction oversight, and operations.

Upon retirement from DTE, Irene began a new journey as an independent consultant focused on the energy industry and non-profits, and as a senior advisor to several top consulting firms, including McKinsey & Company, E Source, Guidehouse, and Public Sector Consultants.

Irene is on the Board of Advisors for the Utility Customer Research Council and is a steering committee member for Equity in a Clean Energy Economy. Irene served for many years as a board member for the SE Michigan Region of the American Red Cross and also for Michigan Saves, the nation’s first non-profit green bank. In 2009, Crain’s Detroit business magazine recognized Irene as a “Woman to Watch” in the Detroit metropolitan area. She has an undergraduate degree in Business from Wayne State University in Detroit, and an MBA from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Raymond Hepper

Elected January 2023; term ends December 2025

Member, Finance Committee
Member, Oversight Committee

Ray Hepper has extensive experience in the electric utility industry and served as vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary for ISO New England until his retirement in 2018.

“I am honored to be elected by SPP’s members to serve on the board,” Hepper said. “I look forward to working with management and stakeholders as the organization takes advantage of the opportunities created by the continuing transition of the industry. The evolution to a larger footprint and closer integration with its neighbors will bring significant benefits to the region and give me the chance to work on very exciting issues.”

Before his role at ISO New England, Hepper was a partner in the firm of Pierce Atwood where he handled regulatory proceedings and complex power contracting issues. Hepper was general counsel at Central Maine Power Company, where he oversaw the sale of the Company’s generation assets and its merger. He started his career as a tax litigator at the United States Department of Justice, and served on the ERCOT board of directors. He has a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a degree in economics from Lehigh University.

Totally blind since birth, Hepper spends volunteer time supporting education, employment and career development for people who are blind and other marginalized groups. He serves on Penn Law School’s alumni advisory board for diversity, equity and inclusion. He is an active mentor in the American Foundation for the Blind's Blind Leadership Development Program and served on the board of Perkins School for the Blind for over ten years, including as vice chair of the board. In addition to bringing RTO and utility expertise to SPP’s board, Hepper’s background will be valuable with regard to SPP’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts.

Stuart Solomon

Elected January 2024; term ends December 2026

Chair, Finance Committee

Stuart Solomon has over 30 years of experience in the electric utility industry, primarily in regulatory, legislative affairs, operations, and management. He began his career in 1986 at Central and South West Corporation’s Central Power & Light subsidiary and later worked at CSW’s corporate headquarters. After CSW merged with American Electric Power, Solomon served as West Virginia State President for AEP’s Appalachian Power subsidiary, and subsequently served as AEP’s vice president of regulatory and public policy. In 2004, Solomon became President and Chief Operating Officer for Public Service Company of Oklahoma, an AEP subsidiary, with broad leadership responsibilities for AEP’s operations in that state. He concluded his career in 2019 as AEP’s Senior Vice President of Generation Operations.

During his utility career, Solomon served on the boards of numerous local and statewide business and charitable organizations. He currently is on the board of WeStreet Federal Credit Union and serves as its Treasurer, and also serves on the Southwestern University Board of Visitors.

Solomon holds a bachelor’s degree from Southwestern University, an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and a law degree from the University of Colorado. He and his wife, Dana, are the proud parents of two grown sons.

Ben Trowbridge

Elected January 2022; term ends December 2024

Member, Oversight Committee

Ben Trowbridge is an Award-Winning CEO & Board Member in Cybersecurity and Managed Services who has led five organizations from inception to $50M to $300M in revenue, and three successful exit events.

Ben currently serves on the board of directors of Arctic Security, a Cybersecurity - attack surface management company, the board of advisors for Abacode Inc., an innovative Cybersecurity Compliance services company, the board of directors for Working Solutions, a leading work from- home contact center BPO firm, and as a board member with Beyond Capital Fund - a leading Social Impact Investment Fund. He previously served as Chairman of Alsbridge India and ProBenchmark PLC.

He founded EY's Global Cybersecurity as a Service practice, where he approached, recruited, and hired a leadership team and developed the strategy that moved it from concept to becoming the highest growth managed services business unit. EY moved from "un-ranked" to the top quadrant for managed services by IDC, HFS, and Gartner. Managed Services included Managed Identity Access Management, Managed Detection and Response, TEM, and Data Protection as a Service. While at EY, he was named to the Outsourcing Leadership Hall of Fame and the 2019 "Innovator of the Year" by D CEO magazine.

Previous to his time at Ernst & Young, Mr. Trowbridge was the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Alsbridge, a third-party advisor for Outsourcing, Benchmarking, and Telecommunications transformation. Under his leadership, Alsbridge achieved a 38% CAGR to $50M and completed four successful acquisitions using cash flow and debt. Alsbridge managed over $155B of large-scale IT and BPO outsourcing contracts and was named to the Inc. 500. Mr. Trowbridge was named on two occasions as an EY Entrepreneur (EOY) of the year finalist, and Consulting Magazine named Alsbridge a Top 10 firm.

Before Alsbridge, Mr. Trowbridge was a direct admit partner to Ernst & Young, where he led the creation of the Global Operate Company, which was a new business that provided complex IT and BPO managed services in the US, Asia, and Europe, which was ultimately sold to Cap Gemini as a part of a €10B sale of EY consulting.

Mr. Trowbridge was educated at Northwestern State University of Louisiana, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts. He is a former United States Marine Corps Infantry Officer, is married, and has two children.

Steve Wright

Elected October 2022; term ends December 2025

Member, Strategic Planning Committee

Steve Wright retired from Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) in 2013, where he served for 12 years as Administrator and CEO. He led BPA during the west coast energy crisis and resulting financial recovery, completed a 10-year agreement for salmon restoration in the Columbia River basin, oversaw substantial increases in energy efficiency investments, established new transmission expansion and integration strategies to support wind power development, and implemented a new 20-year power sales contract for all of BPA’s supply.

As General Manager at Chelan Public Utility District from 2013-2021, Steve led the development of two community-based strategic plans and studies to identify a least-cost path for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the Pacific Northwest electric sector. Chelan PUD and the National Hydropower Association coauthored an agenda for public policy actions to reinvigorate the hydropower industry.

On the SPP board, Steve works on SPP’s efforts on western expansion and market seams. He is chair of the Interim Markets+ Independent Panel overseeing SPP’s day-ahead market developments in the West.

Steve served on the boards of the American Public Power Association and Alliance to Save Energy, and was on the Steering Committee for the Large Public Power Council. He is past chair of the Public Generating Pool and past co-chair of the APPA Climate Change Task Force. Steve was awarded the Presidential Rank Award for distinguished service as a federal government executive, APPA Alex Radin award for distinguished service, ASE Charles Percy award for public service, and APPA Alan Richardson award for Statesmanship. Steve has received lifetime achievement awards from the Washington PUD Association, Oregon PUD Association, Northwest Public Power Association Lifetime Achievement Awards, and other organizations. He has testified before the United States Congress more than a dozen times.

Steve graduated from the University of Oregon with a Master's Degree in public administration.

MEMBERS COMMITTEE

ALTERNATIVE POWER/PUBLIC INTEREST

Steve Gaw
Advanced Power Alliance

Christy Walsh
Natural Resources Defense Council

COOPERATIVES

Al Tamimi
Sunflower Electric Cooperative, Inc.

Zac Perkins
Tri-County Electric Cooperative, Inc. 

Mike Wise
Golden Spread Electric Cooperative, Inc. 

Buddy Hasten
Arkansas Electric Cooperative

Jeremy Severson
Basin Electric Power Cooperative

FEDERAL AGENCIES

Lloyd Linke
Western Area Power Administration

INDEPENDENT TRANSMISSION COMPANY

C. Patrick Woods
ITC Great Plains, LLC

INVESTOR-OWNED UTILITIES

Tim Wilson
Liberty Utilities/Empire District

Adrian Rodriguez
SPS/XcelEnergy

Bleau LaFave
NorthWestern Energy 

Emily Shuart
Oklahoma Gas & Electric

Kevin Bryant
Evergy Companies

Stacey Burbure
Public Service Company of Oklahoma

MUNICIPALS

Dwayne Fulk
City Utilities of Springfield, Missouri

David Osburn
Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority

IPP/MARKETERS

David Mindham
EDP Renewables

Robert Janssen
Dogwood Energy, LLC

Kevin Smith
Tenaska Power Services Co.

LARGE RETAIL CUSTOMERS

Will Conkling
Google Energy, LLC

STATE AGENCIES

Thomas J. (Tom) Kent
Nebraska Public Power District

Joe Lang
Omaha Public Power District

OFFICERS

Barbara Sugg

President and CEO

Barbara Sugg joined Southwest Power Pool in 1997 and has served as President and Chief Executive Officer since April 2020. Barbara leads SPP’s strategic efforts across a multi-state footprint to work together to responsibly and economically keep the lights on, today and in the future. Prior to this position, she served SPP as Senior Vice President of IT and Chief Security Officer, leading complex and strategic technology initiatives while protecting SPP from cyber risk.

Barbara participates in several industry organizations and serves on a number of community and philanthropic boards. She is the founder of the Leadership Foundation for Women and is also a certified executive coach.

Barbara is a proud Ragin’ Cajun, holding a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She is an alumni of Harvard Business School, having completed the Advanced Management Program. Barbara is married with 2 children and 2 grandchildren and resides with her husband in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Lanny Nickell

Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

As executive vice president and chief operating officer, Lanny Nickell is responsible for SPP’s provision of engineering, operations, and information technology services to members and customers. These services include coordination of reliable power system operations, development, design and administration of energy markets, development of transmission expansion plans needed to facilitate delivery of reliable and affordable energy to consumers, and administration of resource adequacy policies.

Nickell began his career as a planning engineer for Public Service Company of Oklahoma. He joined SPP in 1997 as an operations engineer where he helped establish SPP’s reliability coordination and tariff administration functions. He was promoted to the management team in 1998, became vice president of operations in 2008, vice president of engineering in 2011 and senior vice president of engineering in 2019. Throughout his career, he has served on numerous industry committees developing national and regional electric reliability and energy market policies. Nickell currently serves as staff secretary for SPP’s Markets and Operations Policy Committee and participates in numerous community and philanthropic boards.

Nickell received a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Tulsa and is a graduate of Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program. He is married and has four children.

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, Suskie 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, Suskie worked for former United States Sen. David Pryor and for Arkansas Attorney General Winston Bryant. Suskie is a retired colonel in the U.S. Army where he served 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.

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.

Rew'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, Rew 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, External Affairs and Stakeholder Relations

As senior vice president for external affairs and stakeholder relations, Mike Ross leads SPP’s government affairs at the federal level and the 15-state region it serves. Additionally, he has responsibility for external affairs, stakeholder relations, stakeholder training, corporate communications, media relations and public relations.

Ross joined SPP in 2013, after serving six terms in the U.S. House of Representatives from Arkansas’ Fourth Congressional District, where he was a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and its Energy Subcommittee. He was also a member of the House Financial Services Committee, House Science and Technology Committee, House Foreign Affairs Committee and was elected 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.

Ross is a member of the board of trustees for the Arkansas Research Alliance, board of directors for the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and serves on the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Foundation Board.  He is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.  

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.

Desselle has over 42 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, Desselle 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.

Desselle 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. He holds a bachelor’s degree in operations research from Louisiana State University.

Sam Ellis

Vice President, Information Technology

As SPP’s vice president of IT ar, Ellis oversees technology development and deployment, monitoring, support and cybersecurity for SPP and will be responsible for establishing IT strategy and policies.

Ellis served as SPP’s director of cybersecurity and controls since 2017, prior to which he served as director of systems operations, director of market administration and manager of market operations. Ellis joined SPP in 2003 and has 26 years of industry experience in transmission and generation operations and electricity and natural gas trading. He holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Missouri Southern State University.

Felek Abbas

Vice President, Chief Security Officer

As vice president and chief security officer, Abbas will oversee SPP’s cyber and physical security, emergency management and business continuity efforts.

Abbas has nearly 30 years of electric industry experience in cybersecurity, engineering, consulting, risk management, audit and compliance. He most recently served as Senior Manager of Cybersecurity for Power and Utilities at Ernst & Young, where he supported clients with cybersecurity program transformations in both IT and operational technology. He has additional experience as a NERC Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) Compliance Advisor and Auditor, where he helped shape and implement the NERC CIP v5 cybersecurity standards, and he has operational experience as a SCADA engineer at Progress Energy, Mirant Corporation and Georgia Power Company. Abbas has an electrical engineering degree from Auburn University and is an (ISC)Certified Information Systems Security Professional.

Antoine Lucas

Vice President, Markets

As Vice President of Markets, Lucas oversees development, design and provision of all SPP market-based services. He works with stakeholders to ensure continued provision of the efficient and reliable wholesale electricity markets currently administered under the SPP Open Access Transmission Tariff and to develop additional value-added services.

Lucas formerly was SPP’s Vice President of Engineering. Prior to joining SPP, Lucas worked in real-time system operations for Entergy Services, Inc. in roles as an engineer and system operator. Lucas earned a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Arkansas-Little Rock and a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Louisiana Tech University.

David Kelley

Vice President, Engineering

As vice president of engineering, Kelley is responsible for the ongoing development of SPP’s transmission expansion plan, tracking expansion projects, administration of generator interconnection processes, performance of transmission expansion studies and the development of regional resource adequacy policies.

Kelley has more than 20 years of experience in the electric utility industry, having served more than 15 of those years in various engineering and markets leadership roles at SPP. He has a Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Louisiana Tech University, an MBA from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and is a licensed Professional Engineer in the state of Arkansas.

Kelly Carney 

Vice President, Human Capital and Chief People Officer

Carney partners with the SPP executive team and board of directors on human resource planning, allocation and organizational goal setting. She leads the human resources department, staff performance development and lead SPP’s diversity, equity and inclusion program.

Carney has more than 20 years of experience in human resources. She most recently served as vice president of human resources and chief administrative officer at Delta Dental of Arkansas, where she oversaw human resources, training, internal audit, quality assurance, facilities and maintenance teams. She’s a past president of the Central Arkansas Human Resources Association and a member of the Arkansas Compensation Association.

Before her work at Delta Dental of Arkansas, Carney worked in human resources at Transamerica, the Colorado Office of the State Auditor, Trinity Consultants and Olsten Kimberly Quality Care. She has a bachelor’s degree in Human Resources Administration from the University of Kansas and has a SPHR designation from the HR Certification Institute.