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Fueling Questar and the Community
By: Jane Gendron
February 2, 2009
Ronald Jibson loves his job. Really. He’s been working for the same company, Questar Gas Co. (formerly Mountain Fuel) for 28 years. Once a design engineer fresh out of Utah State University, Jibson now steers the utility company as president and CEO. His wideopen office door is symbolic of his philosophy about work and life: welcome people and listen, learn and lead. Like any engineer, Jibson enjoys building things. Bucking the anti-social stigma of the typical engineer, however, he’s a people person. He believes that success, on any level, is often achieved through communication. “A philosophy I have is that there is literally nothing that can’t be resolved through communication and, especially, face-to-face communication,” he says. As he’s worked through Questar’s various departments—from engineering to operations—Jibson’s found that the path to success is one paved with honesty and integrity, something he says the company’s past leaders modeled. He also believes deeply in the talents of his colleagues. “I recognize that there is so much I can learn from other people and in order to do my job, I’ve got to rely on others and their experience and their knowledge,” he says. With his new leadership responsibilities, Jibson isn’t chained to his polished desk. As Debra Rigby, his assistant for the past 20-odd years puts it, “Ron is very hands-on. He gets in and rolls up his shirt sleeves and works right with you, if you need the help.” And helping isn’t just a business gig for Jibson. Aside from sitting on the board of trustees of his alma mater (which named the die-hard Aggie 2008 Alumnus of the Year), he dedicates his time to non-profits, ranging from Junior Achievement of Utah and United Way of Salt Lake to The Utah Shakespearean Festival (no, he’s not an actor), Economic Development Corporation of Utah and Utah Foundation. He also sits on the boards of American Gas Association and Western Energy Institute. His enthusiasm for community endeavors is matched by genuine interest in his increasingly dynamic industry and its challenges. The Utah native has come to the helm of Questar Gas when folks are not only scrutinizing their monthly bills, but also paying attention to their carbon footprint. An avid outdoorsman, Jibson is a proponent of clean air and conservation—starting with his own home. He’s had a home energy audit, added insulation and upgraded his appliances. Questar, he says, is working toward efficiency through better technology, offering energy audits, funding wildlife studies and encouraging conservation. He supports development of natural gas and renewable energy, such as wind and solar energy, and he believes that in order to move away from dependence on foreign oil, the nation has to tap into several diverse resources. “I think we’re all wondering: what’s the future? Every day, the energy demand goes up,” he says. “We need to be very conscious of our environment. We have to be very conscious of our resources, but I think it’s a balance.” Balance is a theme for Jibson. So, too, is variety (he can happily take in a Shakespearean comedy one day and fly fish the next), which he thrives on. Perhaps that is why his door stays open, even when his plate is so very full.