Pepco and Exelon proudly support women and empowering gender equality. At an organization filled with talented women, it is not hard to find one rising in leadership and working to power a cleaner and brighter future for our customers and communities. Aerial Line Mechanic Verona Hemphill is a prime example of just that.
As a busy athletic coach and mentor, Verona is no stranger to hard work. Verona was part of the first graduating class of Pepco’s Utility Training Program at the D.C. Infrastructure Academy (DCIA). When she graduated from DCIA and accepted an offer with Pepco, Verona became part of history: the third female line mechanic in Pepco’s 100-plus year history.
Receiving a Bachelor of Science in Parks and Recreation from North Carolina Central University, the former sports star—who was part of a basketball team that had two undefeated seasons on their home court —Verona carries the spirit of teamwork, coaching, and winning outside the office, as well as at work. A Capitol Hill native and graduate of Anacostia High School, Verona has worked as a security officer at D.C. Public Charter Schools for nearly a decade and has also coached middle school woman’s basketball and track.
“This job is something totally different for me. I will be up high on aerial poles, and seeing the city from a different view, literally,” said Verona. “This isn’t just a job, it’s a career with stability and growth.”
Most importantly, Verona is looking forward to opening doors for other women interested in the energy industry. Following the DCIA graduation, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, also a history maker as the second female Mayor of the District, tweeted about Verona’s accomplishment.
“I can’t define the feeling. I didn’t know that I would be the third female line mechanic at Pepco until my graduation day,” said Verona. “It’s cool, I’m opening the doors for more women and hopefully they will follow this path. I always reach back, and that won’t change.”
While the energy industry has often been male dominated, Exelon has committed to narrowing that gap and providing women the resources needed to support their goals, including a commitment to equal pay, paid maternity (and paternity) leave, funding Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs for young women, and committing to the HeForShe campaign.
Verona says that her biggest piece of advice for other women in male dominated fields, and her advice for her mentees is to stay focused and dedicated. “When you attached yourself to it, you have to see yourself through it,” she says. The advice that she received during DCIA that helped her through training and that she will remind herself of when she begins aerial work is “trust the equipment.”
At Exelon and Pepco, women are making an impact on the energy industry and their efforts to drive our organization forward shape our company and our future every day.