Sniffing out safety: Employees recreate throwback photo


By Reggie VanWagoner

For two Dominion Energy Utah employees, looking for trouble is good. In fact, one might say that Sheldon Ernstsen and Scott Allred are detectives—natural gas detectives.

Since the early 1980s, they have worked alongside each other in the company's gas distribution leak-survey efforts to ensure the company's buried pipelines are not leaking.

"I started with Mountain Fuel Supply—later Questar Gas and now Dominion Energy Utah—and have worked in the leak-survey group my entire career," said Sheldon, a supervisor of gas operations–System Integrity. "My colleagues and I have come to know the company's service area quite well over the past 40 years.”

System Integrity employees and contractors routinely drive specially equipped "sniffer trucks" in areas where company gas mains and service lines are located, trying to detect potential natural gas (methane) that could reveal a safety issue.

Recently, Sheldon and Scott posed to recreate a photo taken of them during the summer of 1981. The photo, taken by a photographer from the Salt Lake Tribune, was used to illustrate a story about the company's natural gas leak-detection program.

"Our recent photo was taken at the same Salt Lake City east bench neighborhood location," explained Sheldon. "The shrubbery has grown taller. We've changed a bit, too, but we're still happy to report there's no leak detected."

"A lot has changed over the years," said Scott, senior corrosion tech–System Integrity. “One thing that hasn’t changed is our focus on safety."

Do you have a throwback photo from your time with Dominion Energy? Recreate a vintage photo like Sheldon and Scott for a chance to be featured on You magazine!

Please send your throwback and recreated photo to by Thursday, Nov. 1.