Thomas (Tom) J. Heller, president and CEO of Missouri River Energy Services (MRES) in Sioux Falls, S.D., received the Mark Crisson Leadership and Managerial Excellence Award during the American Public Power Association’s (APPA) Public Power Connect: Virtual Summit & Business Meeting. The award recognizes managers at a utility, joint action agency, or state or regional association who steer their organizations to new levels of excellence, lead by example, and inspire staff to do better.

Heller’s leadership has helped raise the performance of MRES employees and the organization to higher standards. He inspires employees to achieve common goals through his continual focus on the mission, vision, values, and core purpose of the utility, which all emphasize that MRES will enhance the value of its members and their customers through the provision of energy and energy services. In addition, in 2019 Heller encouraged his team to develop an MRES Employee Culture Statement that explains the shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterize the organization. From high-level strategic planning, to individual employee work plans, the welfare of MRES members and community is at the heart of everything he does.

“Tom’s leadership, knowledge, and expertise have benefited MRES as an organization and public power in general,” said Harold Schiebout, chair of the MRES board of directors. “Heller is well-known throughout the public power community for his dedication and commitment and is highly respected by the MRES board and staff. He is very deserving of this honor.”

Heller has been the president and CEO of MRES for 28 years. Nationally, he serves on the boards of directors of the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and the Transmission Access Policy Study Group (TAPS).


For more information, contact Member Services and Communications Vice President Joni Livingston at Missouri River Energy Services, phone: 605-261-3637 or email:

About APPA:

APPA is the voice of not-for-profit, community-owned utilities that power 2,000 towns and cities nationwide. The organization represents public power before the federal government to protect the interests of the more than 49 million people that public power utilities serve, and the 93,000 people they employ. APPA advocates and advises on electricity policy, technology, trends, training, and operations.