Hope Gas is a Local Distribution Company (LDC) that proudly provides gas service to more than 111,000 residential, industrial, and commercial customers in thirty-five West Virginia counties. We monitor and maintain more than 3200 miles of distribution pipeline and approximately 2400 miles of production lines that safely deliver WV natural gas to many homes and commercial or industrial sites. We currently employ approximately 350+ employees working right here in our beautiful Mountain State with the sole purpose of staying true to our company’s mission and vision in West Virginia.
Hope’s natural gas companies in West Virginia have a long history, dating back to 1898 and the beginnings of the natural gas industry. The history of our company is one closely intertwined with the history of this region, and we believe history is worth knowing—and so is Hope Gas.
For more than a century we have provided the many benefits of natural gas to the people and for the progress of this region. Even though a great deal has changed since 1898, much has stayed the same. We’re proud of our commitment to our customers, our communities, and our planet. We are people that work in local distribution and related service groups. Our bargaining unit employees are members of United Gas Workers Union Local 69, UWUA AFL–CIO. We are people with a purpose -- to serve our customers safely and reliably; strengthen our communities; minimize environmental impacts; and invest in West Virginia’s future.
While it is important to take stock of where we’ve been and what we’ve accomplished, which is significant, we are also looking ahead at what we can accomplish together. Our company is committed to reliable, affordable, and safe energy. Hope Gas is built on a proud legacy of public service, innovation, and community involvement.
Hope Gas employees are dedicated to solving every customer's energy need in the most practical and affordable manner. We embrace each of our customer’s goals and make them ours. That’s how we add value to the customers we serve. Whether it’s a family facing financial struggles, a growing business, or just helping customers understand the growing complexities of the energy world and new technologies, we are committed to providing the right answer for our customer. We also see ourselves as an engine for economic growth partnering with others in the communities in which we serve to grow existing businesses and attract new economic opportunities in the regions we serve.
To be the most valuable provider of important services to every customer we serve by making our customer goals our goals. We want to be held as critically important in the communities where we serve customers by helping those in need, partnering with leaders for economic growth and by caring about the people we call customers
President and CEO of Hope Gas, Inc.
Morgan K. O’Brien is Hope Gas’s and Hearthstone’s Chief Executive Officer. He is a native Pittsburgher who was raised by a blue-collar Irish-Catholic family to value all people and all forms of work. His work ethic and value of other people helped him rise to become CEO at Duquesne Light Company the electric provider for Western Pennsylvania. He later moved over to become the CEO at Peoples Gas serving Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Kentucky.
In those roles, he was the face and voice of the hardworking employees who dedicated each day to helping the families and businesses they serve. He successfully helped grow both companies in terms of employment, customer base and in total investor value. He has positioned both Peoples and Duquesne Light as the true community partners and champions they are today. They both continue to invest and partner with many organizations that drive economic development and improve the quality of life in the regions they serve.
O’Brien earned his college degrees from Robert Morris University. O’Brien is active in civic organizations, including serving as the Chair of the Board of Trustees of his alma mater. He also serves on many boards, some which include Matthews International, Watt Fuel Cell Company, Dollar Energy, Co-chair of Pittsburgh Works Together and African American Chamber.
Jonell Carver has over 22 years’ experience in the oil and gas industry in West Virginia. In her prior role as Director Gas Operations, she managed all aspects of the gathering and distribution work at Dominion Energy West Virginia.
Jonell is a native of southern West Virginia and graduated from Oak Hill High School in Fayette County. She attended West Virginia University and graduated in 2000 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering where she immediately started her career in the Oil and Gas field as a design engineer for Dominion Energy. Over the next 22 years, she held a variety of roles in engineering and operations for Dominion and served the last three years as the Director of Operations for Dominion Energy WV, now Hope Gas.
Outside of Hope Gas, her world revolves around raising three boys: AJ, Ben, and Bowen. They reside on Turtle Ridge Farm in Doddridge County, WV, where she raises alpacas, chickens, and Anatolian Shepherds. Her love of the outdoors and the state of West Virginia help her strive to continue to grow and enhance the operations at Hope Gas.
Vice President of Gas Supply
Craig has over 38 years in the Oil and Gas Industry and has worked with Hope Gas for 34 of those years, where he has established and developing countless relationships with producers and individuals in the Oil and Gas Industry and the business community. During his years with the Hope Gas, Craig has been responsible for the procurement and contracting of natural gas supplies and the contracting of pipeline and storage capacity with multiple upstream interstate pipelines.
Owing to a knowledge of the industry, gained over his career, Craig has been called on to participate in State Regulatory proceedings as an expert witness and to testify before the WV House Energy Committee in support of Producers of West Virginia. He has also served on the Board of Directors of the North American Energy Standards Board (NAESB) for over 14 years. NAESB serves as an industry forum for the development and promotion of standards which lead to a seamless marketplace for wholesale and retail natural gas, the business community, participants, and regulatory entities. Craig also serves on the Board of Directors of the Gas and Oil Association of WV, Inc. (GO-WV).
While he and his wife Jo and family have lived in the Richmond area for over 20 years, Craig is a native West Virginian and spent a large portion of his time over the last 34 years in West Virginia working for Hope. Craig is the proud father of two sons, two daughters, and seven grandchildren.
Senior Vice President & CAO
Ruth DeLost-Wylie is Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer of Hope Gas. In addition to Information Technology, Ruth is also responsible for Customer Care and Billing, Credit and Collection, Call Center, Facilities, Fleet and Supply Chain.
Ruth has over 30 years’ experience in Information Technology with more than 25 years’ experience in the utility industry. Prior to joining Hope Gas in 2023, Ruth led Information Technology and major conversions for electric, gas and water utilities. Ruth also managed Customer Service, Billing, Credit and Collection, Construction, Corporate Services, Human Resources and Legal. Ruth has led IT through back-to-back acquisitions and multiple system conversions and implementations. Ruth and her team look forward to another major conversion coming up in 2023, with more acquisitions and conversions forthcoming.
Ruth received Pittsburgh’s 2023 CIO Lifetime Achievement
Award, Pittsburgh’s 2012 Enterprise Sector CIO of the Year Award and is the
2015 recipient of Pittsburgh’s Business Women’s First Award. She is an active member of the United Way’s
Women’s Leadership Council, is on the Pittsburgh Technology Council and is Vice
Chair on Leadership Pittsburgh’s Board.
Melissa Dykes joined Hearthstone as Chief Financial Officer in December 2021, and became Chief Financial Officer of Hope Gas in August 2022, bringing with her both utility operations and finance leadership. Prior to joining Hearthstone, Ms. Dykes most recently served as Interim Managing Director, Chief Executive Officer, and Chief Operating Officer for JEA, leading nearly 2,000 team members in providing reliable, affordable, and safe utility services to more than one million people across four counties in Northeast Florida. She had full P&L responsibility for JEA’s $2 billion annual budget and $8 billion in invested assets.
While at JEA she led operational improvements that resulted in best-in-class reliability and safety performance. As CFO, she provided leadership to ensure the financial health of JEA, resulting in access to capital at low cost on behalf of JEA’s customers. Her efforts as CFO helped JEA deliver more than $1 billion dollars in cost savings to the community.
Prior to joining JEA, Ms. Dykes was CFO at a portfolio company of a large energy private equity firm and a principal in a renewable energy development company, where she was responsible for origination, commercial structuring, development and capital raising for renewable energy projects. She also was Vice President of Investment Banking at JPMorgan, where she was responsible for providing capital solutions for clients, including more than $26 billion in financings for many municipal electric and water systems across the country, risk management product delivery, and mergers and acquisitions. Prior to joining JPMorgan, Ms. Dykes worked for The World Bank Group, where she researched and published on private participation in infrastructure industries in developing countries.
Ms. Dykes serves or has served on a number of Boards, including the United Way of Northeast Florida, the Association of Edison Illuminating Companies, and the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce. She received a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Florida and holds a certificate in Advanced Management from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.
Senior Vice President, Rates and Regulatory Relations
Jo Carol Farmer is Senior Vice President, Rates and Regulatory Relations for Hope Gas, Inc. and Hearthstone. Jo Carol has over 20 years’ experience in natural gas utility rate regulation. In her prior role as Director of Regulatory and Pricing at Hope Gas, Inc., dba Dominion Energy West Virginia, she oversaw all rate functions, including general rate case proceedings, infrastructure rider proceedings, and gas cost recovery proceedings.
Jo Carol graduated from West Virginia University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science and began her professional employment with the Department of Defense. She joined Consolidated Natural Gas Transmission Corporation (now Eastern Gas Transmission and Storage) in the Computer Services group before moving to their Rate and Regulatory group. When her son was born, Jo Carol exited the workforce and took on the role of stay-at-home mom for several years. She returned to rate regulation work as a Regulatory Analyst in the Regulatory and Pricing group at Hope Gas, Inc., dba Dominion Energy West Virginia, and was appointed as Director of that group in January 2020.
Jo Carol is a 2019 graduate of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, a 2015 graduate of the Developing Dominion Leaders Program, and a 2014 graduate of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership West Virginia program.
A West Virginia native, Jo Carol resides in Bridgeport with her husband and their beagle.
Vice President of Human Resources
Michael Loeffel is our Vice President of Human Resource. Mike has the primary responsibility of building and leading the Human Resources operations to support our fast-growing company. His broad experience will help accelerate Hope Gas’ continued success and empowering commitment to everyone becoming their best while serving their local communities.
Prior to joining Hearthstone, Mike was the Senior Vice President of Human Resources (SVP) for Carriage Services, a Houston based funeral and services provider. Prior to Carriage, he was the SVP of Human Resources for Veolia North America, a water, waste and energy management solutions firm.
Mike is a Wisconsin native and was transferred to the Houston area in 2014 where he currently lives. He and his wife Brenda enjoy spending time with their two boys William and Samuel. He also enjoys golfing and volunteering at his church and local food bank.
Vice President of Corporate Services
Nagy Nagiub is our Vice President of Corporate Services. Nagy will have a key responsibility with the new Hope Gas stand-alone customer operations center in West Virginia and brings a wealth of direct experience and expertise to ensure success.
Prior to joining Hearthstone, Nagy was the Senior Director of Corporate Services for Peoples Gas (Pittsburgh). In that role, he helped lead the transition of Peoples Gas from being an operating utility supported by Dominion Energy to an independent utility, achieving improvements in technology and customer service through the transition. Prior to Peoples, Nagy was Lead of Voice Systems for Duquesne Light Company.
Nagy is originally from Egypt and moved to the United States in 1999 when he married his wife Lynda, a Pittsburgh native. They are currently preparing to send their daughter Maya off to college this fall. In his free time, he enjoys working out, spending time with his three dogs, and teaching Syrian refugees English.
Senior Vice President of Gas Supply and Development
Jeff has responsibility for directing gas supply activities, developing programs with West Virginia producers, and leads the company’s microgrid projects.
Prior to joining Hearthstone, Jeff has more than 30 years of combined work experience with the Peoples Natural Gas and Equitable where his most recent role was VP of Business Development at Peoples Natural Gas Company implementing corporate market strategy to help drive revenue growth. He developed the Peoples Expansion Program, which focused on offering service to more than 300,000 customers and worked with commercial customers to install on-site generation to more cost-effectively and reliably meet their electric needs. Jeff also led the Peoples Joint Development Program with WATT Fuel Cells creating efficient, environmentally responsible power systems for residential homes. Jeff led efforts on Carbon Offsets, Renewable Natural Gas and Hydrogen initiatives at Peoples as well. Prior to that he was VP of Commercial Operations, and previously worked at EQT Midstream and Equitable Gas.
Jeff is a native of Pennsylvania and lives in the Pittsburgh area. Jeff is a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering. He is a member of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, Renewable Natural Gas Coalition and American Gas Association.
Jeff has volunteered his time to Miracle League Baseball, an organized baseball league for special needs children and adults, as a coach. Jeff is also a graduate of Leadership Pittsburgh XXXIV.
Lynne Rhode is our General Counsel. Prior to joining Hearthstone, Lynne served as Assistant Deputy General Counsel at Norfolk Southern, specializing in Markets & Regulations and Environmental. She previously led the Environmental and Natural Resources Department of the Virginia Attorney General's Office. Her prior utility experience includes serving as Chief Legal Officer for a large utility (JEA), outside counsel through her work at Troutman Pepper in Virginia, and as an employee of Dominion early in her career.
Lynne is a Virginia native now living in Florida. She and her husband Bryan enjoy travelling and spending time with their two boys. Lynne is an avid soccer player and is passionate about animal rescue, often fostering dogs and cats for local rescue organizations.
Prior to joining Hearthstone, Karen had almost 30 years of combined work experience with the Consolidated Natural Gas, Dominion, and Peoples Natural Gas all within the Accounting and Finance groups. At Dominion, she supported the Delivery segment which included gas and electric local distribution companies and was responsible for reporting. At Peoples Natural Gas, Karen served as the Controller and then Director – Finance & Accounting. Karen was instrumental in building up the Accounting department for Peoples after Peoples was sold by Dominion and was a key player in multiple SAP conversions for additional acquisitions by Peoples. She was also responsible for managing the $500 million capital budget for Peoples. She has a B.S. in Accounting from Messiah College in Grantham, PA.
Karen has lived all over the country but considers Pittsburgh to be home, along with her husband Howard. They have 2 grown sons and a new daughter in law.
Karen serves on the board for Literacy Pittsburgh. She and her husband also enjoy spending their free time in Hidden Valley, PA on the slopes.