Leadership Montana announced Monday that longtime NorthWestern Energy manager Mike O’Neill has been named the recipient of the 2019 Leadership Montana Tom Scott Award for Excellence in Leadership.
The award, named in honor of the founder of Leadership Montana, was created as the ultimate recognition for individuals who, through their actions, have demonstrated extraordinary leadership on issues affecting Leadership Montana, and these actions have led or will lead to the enhancement or sustainability of Leadership Montana.
Each spring, Leadership Montana’s Board of Governors selects one recipient of the distinguished award.
“Mike O’Neill is so deserving of Leadership Montana’s highest and most prestigious award,” said Brenda Peterson, former chair of the Board of Governors. “Mike’s passion for Leadership Montana runs deep within his heart and soul. He is a person of integrity, honesty, and graciousness, and I am thankful for all he has done for Leadership Montana and the great state in which we live.”
O’Neill served two terms as Chair of the Board of Governors from 2014 to 2016 and led the organization through many operational and administrative transitions.
“Our current success is due in large part to Mike’s undeniable commitment and leadership during his time leading our Board of Governors,” said President/CEO Chantel Schieffer. “I am not alone in my undying gratitude to him and for his contributions to our accomplishments.”
The partnership between Leadership Montana and NorthWestern Energy spans several years, with early twenty employees of the company having participated in the program.
“Mike’s contributions to NorthWestern Energy and Leadership Montana, and indeed all of Montana, are important, and will be sustained long after his retirement,” said NorthWestern Energy President and Chief Executive Officer Bob Rowe. “As I often say, programs like Leadership Montana are long-time investment, like planting trees. Mike O’Neill has planted a lot of trees.”
“Tom Scott recognized the need for civil discourse, especially within our legislative processes,” said O’Neill. “I believe in Tom’s vision and I am extremely honored to receive an award that honors Tom and his great work. I share this award with the members of the Board of Governors, and staff with whom I had the honor and pleasure to serve with. The program is in an excellent position today because of the hard work and diligence of this exemplary team. I am very proud to be a small part of the success of this organization, as it serves such a vital need within our great state.”
O’Neill will receive the award at the annual Celebrate Montana dinner in Billings on April 25. The event coincides with the graduation week of Leadership Montana’s Class of 2019 and brings together alumni, founders, donors, and friends.