VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – March 17, 2022 – Like to work with your hands? Get in the trenches and dig or use a jack hammer? Help install, make repairs and maintain operations? Be part of a team? Enjoy working outdoors? And at times, be the face of the company with customers?
These are just some of the responsibilities of utility workers at Virginia Natural Gas (VNG), and it’s the perfect way to learn the natural gas industry with the opportunity for growth and career advancement.
As the industry continues to expand, VNG will have more than 20 career openings this year for utility workers, an entry-level, developmental role with opportunities for long-term career growth and stability in the energy industry.
And as a Top Workplace in Hampton Roads, it’s the perfect place to start a career while being well compensated with the potential for high earnings.
Just ask some of the managers who started in the industry as utility workers and are now in mid or senior level positions. Like Donovan Jones or Ken Magee, both of whom started at VNG as utility workers and literally learned the business from the ground up and are now in managerial positions.
Jones, director of Regional Operations, has been with VNG for nearly 30 years, starting his career as a utility worker, or what was known then as a gas worker. Back in the early 1990s, he was just happy to be with the gas company and have a good job.
But he also saw it as an opportunity to grow as a person and an employee. Jones took advantage of all developmental opportunities and has held positions as a design technician, construction project coordinator, supervisor, superintendent and now, in charge of operations in the company’s southern sector. He also took advantage of the company’s tuition reimbursement program, obtaining his Bachelor of Science degree in Business from Norfolk State while working full time.
“Without sugar coating it, utility work was hard, but like many before me, I saw it as a steppingstone to advance within the company,” said Jones. “This company has given me more than I ever imagined and allowed me to rise through the ranks to the position I have now. And I’ve been able to mentor new utility workers and help them advance and develop their own careers within the company.”
Magee, operations manager, followed a similar path, also beginning his career at VNG more than 26 years ago as a utility worker. It was hard work he said, but he knew if he applied himself, he too could advance with the company.
Throughout his career, Magee has held positions in Meter Reading, as a plant operator, technical field trainer and supervisor, and community affairs manager. He was also able to obtain his associate degree in Technical Studies through the company’s Experiential Learning Program at Tidewater Community College.
“When people think entry-level position, they are not thinking big picture,” said Magee. “The opportunities are endless if you apply yourself and work hard. If you work hard, people will seek you out for new opportunities. This has been more than a job for me…it’s been a career.”
During the past two years, VNG has hired 63 new employees, including 37 utility workers, all during challenging economic times during a pandemic. Other positions have included engineers, construction inspectors, asset protection specialists and project coordinators.
“This all shows we are hiring and the best way to start at VNG and learn the industry is through the utility workers program,” added Jones. “The energy industry is booming, and these positions offer successful team members the opportunity to learn from some of the industry’s best and be able to parlay that into a long and successful career.”
To learn more about careers with Virginia Natural Gas, visit the careers page at https://www.virginianaturalgas.com/company/careers.html.
Virginia Natural Gas is one of four natural gas distribution companies of Southern Company Gas, a wholly owned subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO). Virginia Natural Gas provides clean, safe, reliable and affordable natural gas service to more than 300,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in southeast Virginia. Consistently ranked in the top quartile for customer satisfaction by J.D. Power and Associates, the company also has been recognized by the Virginia Department of Energy and the Virginia Oil and Gas Association for its safety, innovation, environmental stewardship, community outreach and educational programs, and has been named Local Distribution Company of the Year five times since 2015. The company has been ranked by its businesscustomers as one of the most Trusted Business Partners in the utility industry according to Cogent Reports, and as a Top Workplace in Hampton Roads by Inside Business. For more information, visit virginianaturalgas.com and connect with the company on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Nextdoor.
Southern Company Gas is a wholly owned subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE:SO), America’s premier energy company. Southern Company Gas serves approximately 4.3 million natural gas utility customers through its regulated distribution companies in four states with approximately 666,000 retail customers through its companies that market natural gas. Other nonutility businesses include investments in interstate pipelines and ownership and operation of natural gas storage facilities. For more information, visit southerncompanygas.com.
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