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Executive Leadership at Hearthstone

The strength of our leadership team differentiates Hope Utilities. Our leaders are focused on executing on our strategy, driving growth for our company while improving the communities we serve. Meet the leadership team.

Morgan O'Brien

Chief Executive Officer

Morgan K. O’Brien is Hope’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

Chief Operating Officer

Jonell Carver has over 22 years’ experience in the oil and gas industry in West Virginia. In her prior role as Director Gas Operations for Hope Gas, 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, 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 helps her strive to continue to grow and enhance the operations at Hope Utilities.

Ruth DeLost-Wylie

Chief Administrative Officer

Ruth DeLost-Wylie is Chief Administrative Officer of Hope Utilities. 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 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

Chief Financial Officer

Melissa Dykes joined Hope Utilities as Chief Financial Officer in December 2021, bringing with her both utility operations and finance leadership. Prior to joining Hope, 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.
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Jo Carol Farmer

Senior Vice President, Regulatory Affairs and Government Relations

Jo Carol Farmer is Senior Vice President, Rates and Regulatory Relations for Hope Utilities. 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.
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John Greco

Vice President, Human Resources

John Greco is the Vice President of Human Resources for Hope Utilities. In his role, John will continuously develop a high performing team dedicated to delivering unparallelled service within the organization. His servant leadership approach fosters an environment where every individual thrives and contributes to the organization's strategic objectives and service delivery goals.

Prior to joining Hope, John spent over fifteen years serving a variety of roles within the pharmaceuticals and banking industries. Most recently, John served as Director of HR & Strategic Initiatives at MVB Financial Corp., responsible for culture initiatives, employee relations, learning and development, facilities and security. He also served in a variety of specialty roles within various departments at Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc. His roles have involved managing complex projects, strategic planning, team management, and budget oversight.

John holds multiple degrees, including a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Fairmont State University and is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP).

In addition to his professional achievements, John is actively engaged in community service. Notably, in 2023, he served as a Real Men Wear Pink Ambassador for the American Cancer Society and was the top campaign contributor in West Virginia.

A West Virginia native, John resides in Fairmont with his wife Briana, son Luca and their two pups, Lucy and Ethel.
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Greg Hoyer

Vice President, Government Affairs

Greg Hoyer is the Vice President of Government Affairs for Hope Utilities. Greg is a respected external affairs professional with twenty years of energy industry experience across multiple states and at the federal level. He most recently served as Vice President of Government Affairs for Diversified Energy.

Prior to joining Diversified, Greg served as Senior Government Affairs Manager for EQT Corporation, helped develop and manage the government affairs practice for Charleston, WV-based LGCR Government Solutions, and held various positions in government and politics.

Greg is an avid cyclist and skier. He lives in Charleston, WV with his wife and daughter and is active in the local community.

Jeff Nehr

Senior Vice President of Gas Supply and Development

Jeff has responsibility for directing gas supply activities, developing programs with producers, and leads the company’s microgrid projects.

Prior to joining Hope Utilities, 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. In that role he was responsible for 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

General Counsel

Lynne Rhode is our General Counsel. Prior to joining Hope Utilities, 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.
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Ryan Wannemacher

Vice President and Treasurer

Ryan Wannemacher is Hope Utilities’ Vice President and Treasurer. He is responsible for all aspects of Treasury and Financial Planning.  Ryan is a respected finance professional with twenty years of utility finance experience. His professional experience includes serving as head of FP&A and CFO for a large utility, CFO for a vegetation management company serving the utility and railroad industries, and utility investment banker at a large global financial institution. He has years of experience designing and implementing financial solutions, including utility debt issuance, physical and financial hedging implementation, setting and managing capital and operating budgets, financial planning, cost of service and rate design, and enterprise risk management.

Ryan is an avid golfer and recently hit his second hole-in-one. He and his family are relocating to Morgantown, WV.

Daniel Webb, CPA

Vice President of Finance and Controller

Dan Webb is Hope Utilities’ Vice President of Finance and Controller. Dan is a Certified Public Accountant registered in the State of Illinois. Dan first joined Hearthstone in August 2019 as Assistant Controller. Prior to joining Hope, Dan held multiple finance and accounting positions at Commonwealth Edison, Exelon Generation, Nicor Gas, and Arthur Andersen. Dan has over 20 years of experience in the utility/energy industry which has allowed him to develop an in-depth understanding of the financial and accounting operations of utility companies.

Dan currently lives in the Chicagoland area with his wife and family. Dan and his wife enjoy exploring the outdoors together and supporting their son and daughter in their musical and academic pursuits.