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[Editor's note: Influential Women In Energy 2023 is a supplement to the February 2023 issue of Oil and Gas Investor magazine. Subscribe here.]

A self-confessed “New Englander” from Acton, Mass., Deborah Gholson is a die-hard Boston sports fan and the gas development services advisor for LNG business development at BHE GT&S, which was formed in 2020 when Berkshire Hathaway Energy acquired the gas transmission, gas storage and LNG assets from Dominion Energy Inc. In that role, Gholson provides analysis and direction for key capital investment and business strategy activities and is responsible for expanding the LNG business in small-scale marine applications. She cultivates new customers, develops partnership collaborations and executes new business initiatives.

Gholson graduated from Regis College in Massachusetts with a degree in sociology and law and took paralegal courses from nearby Bentley College to earn an American Bar Association paralegal certificate. She worked as a paralegal in Boston and Washington, D.C. before joining the law department at Dominion Energy 18 years ago, where she took on responsibility for litigation case management of electric generation and transmission regulated projects. Gholson moved to the gas division in 2014, where she was responsible for project execution and regulatory strategy for new gas and LNG projects, including the Cove Point export project.

In her spare time, she is a Girl Scout leader, serves on the board of directors for the Virginia Maritime Association and was recently appointed as an advisor for the Distinguished Women in Leadership Program at the University of Richmond.

‘Knowledge wins’

“I certainly have not shied away from male-dominated fields. I started in the legal field where I quickly learned you had to work way harder and longer to get the good cases. Throughout my time in the energy sector, often I am the only non-engineer and the only female at a natural gas or LNG table. Now, drop me in the long history of the maritime industry and that challenge doubles. As a woman in these environments, I learned to find the balance between maintaining my own core values and fighting to be heard. Knowledge wins the day.”

Career success

“At BHE GT&S, one of my major accomplishments was to lead a year-long feasibility study with an international ship classification society, internal and external stakeholders, including cross-functional business units, major port authorities and other supporting organizations, to determine the viability of providing LNG as a fuel bunkering service for the marine industry. The study was performed in two phases: Phase 1 – supply and demand analysis and financial evaluation; and Phase 2 – risk identification and safe operations. The results of the study confirmed our ideas of small-scale LNG deployment, advanced the development of our bunkering plan and pushed us to create partnerships for success. Being part of our company’s achievements in bringing sustainable, environmentally friendly LNG solutions to industries like marine fueling, as well as transportation, pipeline peaking and power generation, has been extremely rewarding.”

Global impact

“It was important to me when I moved to the energy sector to do something with my career that made a real tangible difference to people. I could see a direct link from our hard work to the benefit of energy customers. Today, I strive to expand that direct link to a global footprint. By advancing the use of LNG as a marine fuel, not only are we promoting environmental stewardship in our region, but we are growing that benefit to consumers worldwide.”

Family guidance

“The first person and really the most impactful person I have been fortunate to have in my life is my mom, Barbara. Right out of high school, she was hired to be the secretary to a buyer for the building and materials department for Sears, Roebuck and Co. in Chicago. Even with no continued education, she always held a professional job and still continued to work after retirement. She showed me by example how to be the best you can be while nurturing a family and her community.”

Three more things

1. I ride reining horses.  
2. I really love driving my F-150 Platinum truck.
3. I am a huge Boston Bruins Hockey fan. There are a lot of symmetries between the game of hockey and life. You can’t score a goal if you don’t shoot the puck. Goals may be scored by one but not without the contributions of many.

25 Influential Women in Energy

View the full list of this year’s honorees at Hart Energy LIVE.