Meet Jennifer Ries, VP of Rates & Regulatory Affairs for Atmos Energy. Learn how she enjoys her may roles in utilities, running half marathons, and traveling the world.
Meet her in person October 17-18, in San Diego at the ADVANCED: The Power Conference for Women in Utilities, where she will discuss gaining support from leadership in the workplace and overcoming established perceptions.
Question: Name, title, company?
Jennifer Ries, VP Rates & Regulatory Affairs, Atmos Energy
Question: Family, hometown, where you live?
I have been married to my husband for over 18 years and we have two daughters, ages 13 and 11. I am a West Texas girl and have lived in Amarillo, Lubbock and Midland. We moved to Denver 3 years ago and love those beautiful Rockies.
Question: What is your utility experience?
I have 16 years of utility experience including engineering, operations, compliance and regulatory. I’ve overseen a variety of things from distribution main installation to emergency outages to rate case filings. These roles have allowed me to see the many ins and outs of the utility industry.
Question: What do you like to do when you’re not working? Hobbies?
My main hobby is chasing my kids around the state while they play soccer. In my free time, I enjoying running half marathons and traveling the world.
Question: Notable achievements?
I am a first generation college graduate in my mom’s family and received the Distinguished Engineering Student award at Texas Tech. I was also the first female Operations Supervisor for the West Texas Division.
Question: Where do you see Women in Utilities in two years?
I see more women in key leadership positions that have the influence to continue the conversation revolving around the business need for diversity in the utility industry. This will include raising the awareness of our male counterparts to join the conversation!
Question: What is your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge is working with state regulators to modernize our natural gas system to ensure safe and reliable service to all our customers.
Question: What did you do prior to working in your current role?
I was an Engineering Manager for Atmos Energy in West Texas.
Question: Who are a couple of your role models (and why)?
My husband is incredibly insightful, supportive, and my sounding board. My parents taught me to have high expectations of myself.
Question: What is one of your biggest goals (in life or business)?
To improve myself every day, to make a difference, and to encourage those around me to do the same.
Question: What’s the biggest misconception you run into in your role (or what people seem to think about women in leadership positions at utilities)?
The biggest misconception is that women can only be leaders in certain roles like finance, human resources, and engineering. We need to explore non-traditional roles for women such as construction leads and pipeline operators.