Tarah Taylor Kesterson and Virginia Energy

Posted by Monica Hoel
What’s in a name? Everything.

And the Virginia agency formerly known as the Department of Mines Minerals and Energy pretty much spelled out everything in that very long moniker. But in 2021 the Virginia General Assembly said it was time for the office to have a new name, and even though this new one is far shorter, it still manages to say it all: Virginia Energy.

Tarah Taylor Kesterson is the Public Relations and Marketing Manager for Virginia Energy, and she laughs as she says that some reporters have actually called her to thank her for the shorter handle. “They’re glad not to have to write out such a long name or use our acronym over and over.”

And in a professional community that loves a good acronym (DEQ, TNC, DWR, DCR to name a few) the former “DMME” is vowing to no longer be an acronym. Tarah smiles widely when she announces, “We aren’t ‘Virginia DOE’ or ‘VE.’ None of that! We are Virginia Energy.”

Motivation for the change wasn’t actually to make things easier to say. The decision came from seeing an opportunity to more fully reflect all the innovative ways that the Commonwealth of Virginia is serving the Energy needs of Virginians. As the world moves in the direction of finding more renewable energy sources, Virginia Energy is committed to addressing new technologies like solar and wind. They are opening new career opportunities in research and development. And they are finding ways to use formerly mined land for different types of energy production (think solar farms, for instance).

And the work being done by Tarah and her team is getting national attention. “We were just interviewed by the Washington Post and NPR. We’re at the table to have discussions about our work, and others around the country are watching how we are doing things in Virginia.”

Tarah is proud of the fact that her home of SWVA is still considered the capitol of energy for the state even as they identify new sources of electricity production. “Even though I serve the entire state, I grew up in a coal-impacted community, Raven, Virginia, my dad was in the mines, and he now teaches miners. So it’s so exciting to be able to promote exciting new opportunities and economic development for my home. There is a real heart for seeing SWVA succeed.”

You can follow news of Virginia Energy on a variety of social media sources, and their website: https://energy.virginia.gov/. And you can enjoy a conversation with Tarah on the Duck Pond Wall podcast wherever you listen to podcasts.

  • Tarah Taylor Kesterson
    Emory & Henry Class of 2003
    Public Relations and Marketing Manager for Virginia Energy

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  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/866-dr-bob-buchanan-receives-award"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,11,280,291/6479_Dr._Bob_Buchanan.rev.1560787959.webp 1x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,11,280,291/6479_Dr._Bob_Buchanan.rev.1560787959.jpg 1x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,11,280,291/6479_Dr._Bob_Buchanan.rev.1560787959.jpg" alt="Dr. Bob Buchanan, E&H Class of 1958, is retired from University of California, Berkeley." width="345" height="225" data-max-w="280" data-max-h="280" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/866-dr-bob-buchanan-receives-award">Dr. Bob Buchanan Receives Award</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> Dr. Buchanan (E&H ’58) was among a small group of outstanding scientists honored by the American Society of Plant Biologists <a href="/live/news/866-dr-bob-buchanan-receives-award" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>