About - Tom Lebakken



Tom has worked as a consultant with utilities of all sizes and shapes.  This includes investor owned utilities, municipal electric utilities, distribution cooperatives, public utility districts, independent power producers, and generation and transmission cooperatives.  All these types of utilities have seen it helpful to have Tom join their team.  Tom has also subcontracted to other firms that needed to add his expertise to their team.  

Client Staff

For some projects, Tom is working along side a client team with extensive relevant experience.  In those cases Tom is providing additional outside perspective, certain specialized expertise, and the ability to drive some of the tasks without being drawn away for daily operational responsibilities.   In other cases, client personnel expertise is in other areas.  In this case, Tom may do much of the "heavy lifting" on some tasks - engaging utility staff so they can manage the solutions going forward.   Tom can also provide regular on-going support longer term. 


A good plan for any project is a key indicator regarding project success and could help head off costly miscues and delays.   One of the highest values Tom can deliver to a client is helping them make early decisions regarding their project.   If you involve Tom early, his perspective based on experience in his areas of expertise can inform your objectives, refine your project strategy, and flush out solution ideas.   Call Tom even if you are just starting to contemplate an initiative. 


Some consultants bring a team of individuals to a meeting in order to cover the breadth of issues involved.   For Tom's core areas of experience, when he is onsite working with you, he can transition between topics and tasks.   In the morning he could be hands on with substation equipment or working with field personnel on testing.   In the afternoon he could be working with control center personnel on databases or visualization - or in a project meeting with senior management. 


Tom started Sugar Hill Consulting, LLC in 2007.  Prior to that he was at a mid-size utility consulting firm for 16 years.  When deciding to leave that firm, Tom was Vice President of Engineering and as today, the majority of his own project work was as a technology and engineering consultant for utility SCADA, automation, and related applications and systems.   

Tom has a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering (power systems) and is presently a registered professional engineer in 9 states.  If professional engineering services may be part of a project scope, check with Tom to see if he has or would obtain the necessary state licenses and authorizations.      

Technical Skills


Tom is experienced leading large and small projects and teams, planning solutions and projects, authoring technology procurement specifications, staging and integrating systems, working in substations, configuring IEDs and other equipment, configuring substation security appliances, working with market leading SCADA master systems and historians, setting up intelligent alarm notifications,  troubleshooting communications with protocol test sets, working with operators, training utility staff, and presenting results.