ROBERT M. ‘BOB’ BLUE
PRESIDENT AND CEO, DOMINION ENERGY INC., RICHMOND
In October, Blue takes over as Dominion’s president and CEO, though he’ll still answer to his predecessor, Thomas Farrell II, who’s taking on the title of executive chair.
Blue joined Dominion in 2005, serving in various leadership roles, including, most recently, as executive vice president and co-chief operating officer. He also served as president of Dominion Energy Virginia, with 2.6 million customer accounts. He has led Dominion’s efforts to build the nation’s largest offshore wind farm 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach, as well as Dominion’s investments in solar energy and its partnership with Smithfield Foods to convert methane from hog waste into natural gas. Blue was also president and CEO of Dominion’s power delivery business unit until 2017.
A graduate of the University of Virginia and Yale Law School, Blue holds a master’s degree in business administration from U.Va.’s Darden School of Business. He sits on U.Va.’s board of visitors and is also a trustee for the Virginia Health Care Foundation. From 2002 to 2005, he served as counselor and director of policy for Gov. Mark Warner.
THOMAS F. FARRELL II
EXECUTIVE CHAIR, DOMINION ENERGY INC., RICHMOND
One of the most prominent business leaders in Virginia, Farrell has led the Fortune 500 power and energy company since 2006 and is also one of the highest-paid executives in his industry, making about $15 million annually. Under his leadership, Dominion, with more than $13 billion in annual revenues, has tripled its philanthropic giving and come close to doubling its earnings per share.
July was an eventful month for the utility, with Farrell announcing he was passing his responsibilities as president and CEO to Robert Blue. Dominion also completed construction on the first offshore wind farm in federal waters, part of an effort to meet a state mandate to generate 100% of Virginia’s electricity from carbon-free sources by 2045. And Dominion walked away from its plans to build the controversial $8 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline and sold its natural gas transmission and storage assets in a $9.7 billion deal, with Farrell saying Dominion was narrowing its focus to its utilities business.
Earlier this summer, Dominion made $40 million in commitments towards racial equity, including supporting social justice nonprofits and historically black colleges and universities.
Farrell chairs the board of directors for the state-funded GO Virginia economic development initiative. He’s also chairman of the board of directors for Henrico County-based Fortune 500 tobacco manufacturer Altria Group Inc.
ANDRÉS R. GLUSKI
PRESIDENT AND CEO, AES CORP., ARLINGTON
When Gluski took the reins of the Fortune 500 global power company in 2011, 60% of its power generation operations were fueled by coal. But Gluski began an aggressive push toward producing more sustainable and greener energy in the 14 countries AES serves.
Gluski has reduced AES’s coal generating power to 30%, and by 2022, he expects to have halved the company’s carbon footprint from its 2016 levels. Simultaneously, he has increased the company’s credit rating, initiated a quarterly dividend, which has grown at an 8% annual rate, and overseen more than 5,000 megawatts of new power generation, while vastly expanding the company’s use of battery storage capacity, wind and solar energy.
“The basic want-to-do-good DNA of this company made this easier,” Gluski told Forbes magazine in December 2019.
Raised in Venezuela, where he was director general of public finance for the Ministry of Finance, Gluski earned his master’s and doctorate in economics from the University of Virginia. He serves as chairman for the Council of the Americas’ board of directors.
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, SOUTHERN COMPANY GAS; PRESIDENT*, VIRGINIA NATURAL GAS INC., VIRGINIA BEACH
Kibler oversees the delivery of natural gas to almost 300,000 customers in southeastern Virginia, a customer base that continues to swell.
Lately, Virginia Natural Gas has been working to gain approval from the State Corporation Commission for its controversial $346 million Header Improvement Project, which would connect pipeline infrastructure in Northern Virginia to Hampton Roads. It has until Dec. 31 to fulfill a raft of SCC requirements. Though it’s been met with opposition from landowners and environmentalists, Virginia Natural Gas says the project will upgrade the state’s natural gas infrastructure and provide a reliable method for meeting the region’s growing energy needs.
The civic-minded Kibler serves on the boards of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce and the Mead Endowment at the University of Virginia. He also sits on the GO Virginia Region 5 Council and is vice rector of the board of visitors at Radford University.
A graduate of the University of Virginia, Kibler holds a law degree, with honors, from the University of Richmond.
*Editor’s Note: Kibler announced his retirement after the Virginia 500 went to press. As of Sept. 4, former Virginia Natural Gas President Robert Duvall will take his place as president.
CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, DOMINION ENERGY INC., RICHMOND
Leopold landed her first job in the energy industry as a power plant engineer because she was willing to climb 500-foot smokestacks. Her career since has reached even loftier heights.
In October, Leopold will become the company’s sole chief operating officer, responsible for all the company’s operating segments. She previously served as executive vice president and co-COO, overseeing Dominion Energy South Carolina (with 1.1 million customers) and the company’s gas distribution segment. She’s also responsible for its gas transmission and storage division, which is being sold to a Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary by the end of 2020.
A graduate of the University of Sussex in England, she holds a master’s degree in engineering from George Washington University and an MBA from Virginia Commonwealth University. Leopold joined Dominion in 1995, holding a number of executive roles. She is chair of the American Gas Association and serves on the board of trustees at Virginia Union University. She also serves on the boards of Markel Corp. and the GO Virginia Foundation.
And Leopold still isn’t afraid of reaching new heights. She has made more than 450 skydiving jumps, and, a few years ago, even rappelled down a 20-story building in downtown Richmond to raise money for the United Way. “I’ve learned to embrace the journey just as much as the reward,” she says.
SENIOR DIRECTOR, SMITHFIELD RENEWABLES, SMITHFIELD FOODS INC., SMITHFIELD
As the point man for the world’s largest pork producer’s ambitious goal to lower its greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2025, Westerbeek is tackling the problem of methane gas released by manure at the many hog farms that supply the ham and bacon for which Smithfield is famous. Methane is 25 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, and it is responsible for as much as 40% of Smithfield’s carbon footprint.
Westerbeek has helped Smithfield engage 80% of its grain supply chain in efficient fertilizer and soil health practices, but perhaps even more crucially, he has been overseeing an aggressive effort to harness the energy of methane now being released into the atmosphere.
He is a leader in Align Renewable Natural Gas, a $500 million joint venture between Smithfield and Dominion Energy to convert methane from Smithfield’s hog farms into saleable natural gas. The enterprise is projected to remove about 105,000 metric tons of methane annually, the equivalent of taking half a million cars off the road.
A North Carolina State University graduate, Westerbeek began working for Smithfield in 1993 as an environmental technician. He was most recently vice president for environment, engineering and support services for Smithfield’s hog production division in North Carolina.