Statewide › Public Utilities Commissioners

  • Chris Nelson

    Public Utilities Commissioner

    Visit Official Website

    (605) 773-3201

    Mailing Address:
    Public Utilities Commission
    Capitol Building, 1st floor
    500 E. Capitol Ave.
    Pierre, SD 57501-5070

    Chris Nelson is currently the chairman of the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission. Chris was appointed Jan. 8, 2011, by Gov. Dennis Daugaard to fill a vacancy on the commission and was elected by South Dakota voters in November 2012 to continue his service for the remaining four years of the term. Chris served as the PUC's chairman in 2012 and vice chairman in 2011, 2013 and 2014.

    He is a member of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, serving as chairman of the association's Committee on Telecommunications. Additionally, Chris has been appointed to the NARUC Task Force on Federalism and Telecommunications. He has been appointed by the Federal Communications Commission to the Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service, representing the interests of NARUC.

    Previously, Chris served as Secretary of State having been elected in the 2002 general election.  Chris was unopposed for reelection in 2006 which was the first time the office was unopposed in the history of South Dakota.

    Prior to becoming Secretary of State, Chris held the position of state election supervisor in the Secretary of State's office for 13 years and was uniform commercial code supervisor in the same office for two years.

    As Secretary of State, Chris received the 2010 Excellent Service to South Dakota County Officials award from the South Dakota County Officials Association, the 2004 Hazeltine/Taylor award from South Dakota Kids Voting, and the 2003 Excellence in South Dakota Municipal Government award from the South Dakota Municipal League. In 2005, Chris was appointed as a National Governors Association representative on the United States Election Assistance Commission Board of Advisors.

    Under Chris's leadership the secretary of state's office was awarded the Election Center's 2009 Professional Practices Program State Award. This annual award is given as recognition for the most outstanding election administration professional practice in the nation. The award recognizes the 2008 development and implementation of a new central election reporting system for the state.

    Following graduation from White Lake High School, Chris earned a bachelor's degree in animal science, with highest honors, from South Dakota State University in 1987.

    Chris is actively involved in his church and counts agriculture and hunting as two areas of personal interest. He maintains a part-time cattle operation. Chris, his wife Penny and daughter Rebekah reside in Pierre.

  • Gary Hanson

    Public Utilities Commissioner

    (605) 773-3201

    Mailing Address:
    Public Utilities Commission
    Capitol Building, 1st floor
    500 E. Capitol Ave.
    Pierre, SD 57501-5070

    Gary Hanson was elected to the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission in 2003 and re-elected in November 2008. He served as the commission's chairman in 2005, 2008 and 2011. Gary represents South Dakota on the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners' Committee on Electricity. He served on the executive committee and as treasurer of the Organization of MISO States, is a member of the Mid-America Regulatory Conference, and represents the nation's NARUC commissioners on the steering committee of the National Wind Coordinating Collaborative and is a member of the Advisory Council for New Mexico State University's Center for Public Utilities.

    Gary has served as chairman of the South Dakota Underground Pipeline Task Force, as member of Gov. Mike Rounds' Task Force on Wind Development,
    South Dakota's Energy Task Force, and Gov. George S. Mickelson's Cumulative Environmental Evaluation of Black Hills Mining Task Force. His service to the state also includes three terms in the South Dakota Senate where he was chairman of the committees of Bonding and of Government Audit and Operations, and vice chairman of the Taxation Committee.

    A native of Sioux Falls, Gary was twice elected as mayor of that city and oversaw multiple departmental operations of more than 1,200 employees. Prior to serving as mayor, Gary was Sioux Falls' utilities commissioner for six years and was responsible for the development and day-to-day activities for three municipal utilities. He owned several businesses before elected office and is a licensed real estate auctioneer, appraiser and broker.

    As a regional and industry leader, Gary was a co-founder, past president and chairman of the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System, chairman of the South Dakota Public Assurance Alliance, and president of the Sioux Falls Board of Realtors. He has served on the boards of directors of Lutheran Social Services Credit Counseling Advisory Board, DAV Arthur H. Muchow Independent Living Center, Sioux Falls Jaycees, Northern State University Foundation, Minnehaha Metro Communications Systems, South Dakota Water Congress, and Sister Cities Association. Gary was instrumental in the founding of the Multicultural Center in Sioux Falls, the Great Plains Waicipi, Community Drug Concerns Task Force, as well as endowments for the Sioux Falls Pavilion and the Great Plains Zoo.

    Awards and honors received by Gary include being named Distinguished Alumnus of Northern State University, Sioux Falls' City Father of the Year, YMCA Tri-State Hall of Fame, International Lions Club Melvin Jones Fellow, Outstanding Young Citizen of South Dakota, Habitat for Humanity's Hat's Off Award, Spirit of Downtown Sioux Falls Award, White Cane Safety Award, Multiple Sclerosis Society Chapter's Mayor of the Year, Children's Care Hospital Wings of Love Award, DAV's Outstanding Legislator Award, and Life Member of Lions Club Sight and Service Foundation.

    He has regularly shared his passion for athletics as a volunteer coach for a variety of youth sports. Gary actively pursues a number of interests including astronomy, carpentry, car engines, birding, genealogy, hunting, fishing, skydiving, spelunking, camping, history and sports.

    Gary and his wife, Sandy, make their home in Sioux Falls and Pierre. The couple has three children and seven grandchildren.

  • Kristie Fiegen

    Public Utilities Commissioner

    Visit Official Website

    (605) 773-3201

    Mailing Address:
    Public Utilities Commission
    Capitol Building, 1st floor
    500 E. Capitol Ave.
    Pierre, SD 57501-5070

    Kristie Fiegen currently serves as the vice chairman of the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission. She was appointed to the PUC by Gov. Dennis Daugaard on Aug. 9, 2011, to fill a vacancy on the commission. Kristie was then elected to the commission in November 2012, to serve a six-year term. She previously served as vice chairman of the PUC in 2012. She is a member of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners' Committee on Gas andSubcommittee on Pipeline Safety. Kristie provides guidance related to the interests of the public and gas consumers to the Gas Technology Institute as a member of GTI’s Public Interest Advisory Committee.

    Prior to joining the PUC, Kristie was the president
    of Junior Achievement of South Dakota for 17 years and was recognized as the top Junior Achievement USA President in 2008. Under Kristie's leadership, participation in Junior Achievement increased from
    2,400 to more than 44,000 students annually and her team was named among the top eight franchises in the country nine times. Kristie's career also includes serving as the South Dakota area manager for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society for nine years and as a sales representative for Monsanto Company.

    Kristie's public service career includes four terms in the South Dakota House of Representatives, from 1993 to 2001. While a legislator, she served as chair of the House Health and Human Service Committee.

    She has been active in Rotary, the United Way and Toastmasters, and is an active member of Central Baptist Church.

    Kristie earned a bachelor's degree in commercial economics and agricultural business from South Dakota State University and a master's degree in business administration from the University of South Dakota. She grew up on her family's farm near Chancellor, S.D., and is a graduate of Parker High School. Kristie and her husband, Tim, live in Sioux Falls with their sons, Alexander and Jackson.

    She has been active in Rotary, the United Way and Toastmasters, and is an active member of Central Baptist Church.

    Kristie earned a bachelor's degree in commercial economics and agricultural business from South Dakota State University and a master's degree in business administration from the University of South Dakota. She grew up on her family's farm near Chancellor, S.D., and is a graduate of Parker High School. Kristie and her husband, Tim, live in Sioux Falls with their sons, Alexander and Jackson.