Dominion Energy keeps getting better and brighter
by Halie Dalton
Five minutes from downtown Columbia, South Carolina sits the City of Cayce. Home to around 15,000 people – Cayce isn’t very big. But its influence is far from small. It holds the headquarters of Dominion Energy’s Southeast Energy Group (SEG).
And speaking of big influencers: meet Jamie Barton. Jamie is a South Carolina native, works on some of Dominion Energy’s largest gas infrastructure projects, and was recently named one of Columbia Business Monthly’s “Best and Brightest 35 and Under.” His impressive resume didn’t come together overnight, though.
Back in 2011, Jamie was a junior mechanical engineering major at the University of South Carolina, looking for an internship. He accepted a summer position with Carolina Gas Transmission, which (spoiler alert) would eventually become Dominion Energy.
It wasn’t an easy time to enter the utility space, however, due to the San Bruno pipeline explosion the previous year. That meant Jamie spent the summer working on meaningful projects, where safety and excellence were expected from the start.
These high expectations ring true for all Dominion Energy interns, but things moved a bit quicker for Jamie than they do for most. There was a lot of turnover within his group, so when he came back to work for the company full-time after graduation, he was one of the most senior employees.
I get the sense, though, that moving quickly is where Jamie feels most comfortable. He told me that he took a “long week off” between graduation and coming on full-time. How’s that for setting the pace?
Almost immediately, he started training new hires and working on some of the company’s most important growth projects. You don’t receive superlatives like “best” and “brightest” before your name by sitting idle, it seems.
“I never turn anything down,” said Jamie, when I asked about how he took on so much with so little. “Gee – instead of sinking, I guess I swam.” Humble as he is, he altered this sentence by adding that perhaps it was more of a doggy-paddle – but I’m not so sure.
Just as he was hitting his stride, Jamie found himself a small fish in a much bigger pond. In 2014, Dominion Energy purchased Carolina Gas Transmission. The smallest entity of the SCANA Corporation at the time, Carolina Gas Transmission often took a back seat. But as it became integrated into a company that places large emphasis on gas infrastructure projects, Jamie and his colleagues found themselves sitting front row. Actually, they were on center stage.
“All of a sudden, they were mentioning us on earnings calls and we were meeting with vice presidents every other week,” said Jamie regarding this shift into the limelight.
“I try to do the best I can in everything that I do, so it was nice to be recognized and have a little bit more skin in the game to be able to succeed, strive, and shine.” Maybe he didn’t know it at the time, but Jamie was embracing change before it was cool.
CEO Tom Farrell often notes that our core values weren’t created in a boardroom or dictated by senior leadership but rather reflect the existing priorities of our employees. I think this is exactly what Tom means: although Jamie hasn’t technically been a Dominion Energy employee for long, he mentioned our core values throughout our entire conversation. He embodies them.
“I look at One Dominion Energy as more than just inside the company,” said Jamie. “Making a positive impact in the community is engrained in everything that we do.”
Leading the development and construction of some of the largest projects in the company’s history in S.C. and W. Va. allows Jamie to make a difference every day. But providing critical energy sources that allow these communities to grow and thrive is just the beginning.
“Obviously we’re here to do business, but we’re here to do a lot of good, too,” he emphasized.
In the community, Jamie serves on the Greater Cayce and West Columbia Chamber of Commerce, the American Red Cross Board of Directors for Central S.C., and he helped create (and now chairs) the Young Alumni Board at his alma mater, USC.
Being “one” with the Cayce community came easily for Jamie, as his grandfather used to be the Mayor. But it didn’t take long for Jamie to develop a passion of his own, and to really run with it. And we’re not the only one who has noticed.
When I asked Jamie how his recognition as “Best and Brightest 35 and Under” came to be? “I was floored, myself,” he started. “I’m just happy to work for a company that allows me to leave the world a better place than I found it.”