Jason S. Harshbarger
November 13, 2017|
Natural Gas Storage Tech. Spec. III, Dominion Energy Transmission, and Member, West Virginia House of Delegates
By Katlin Swisher
Traditional West Virginia values of hard work, determination and grit have defined Jason Harshbarger’s career. As a natural gas storage technical specialist III for Dominion Energy Transmission and a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates, he strives to lead by example.
“I like seeing results, whether that’s at work, in our state, through the organizations I have been involved with or on our family farm,” he says. “I feel strongly that if you say you’re going to do something, you must follow through with it.”
Growing up in Parkersburg, WV, Harshbarger dreamed of being a pediatrician, but when he left home to attend Marietta College, a geology class opened his eyes to the career possibilities that existed for him in the oil and gas industry. Within days of graduation, he and his wife headed for Lafayette, LA, where he began his first industry job working offshore in the Gulf of Mexico, performing formation evaluation and directional drilling on offshore oil and gas rigs. Leaving home cemented his commitment to one day return to the Mountain State.
“I have great pride in where I was born and raised,” he says. “Having to move away after college, I found myself wanting to move back to the place I called home. With my career, I could probably work anywhere in the world, but my wife and I choose to live here. I have a strong belief we can make West Virginia a great state.”
One of the ways Harshbarger works toward a brighter future for the state is through his service as a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates. Representing Pleasants and Ritchie counties, he sits on the industry and labor, education, energy and agriculture and natural resources committees. He also invests his time as a board member of the Ritchie County Economic Development Authority and a member of the Ritchie County Fairground Association.
Above all else, Harshbarger believes the state’s future depends on creating and implementing leadership development opportunities for the state’s youth. He currently serves as the West Virginia Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership corporate board treasurer and has served as board president, board member and facilitator over the past 12 years. He serves on the advisory committee for the Mid-Ohio Valley Technical Institute and volunteers with Ritchie County’s 4-H program. Harshbarger and his family also open their home as a host family for Lion’s Youth Exchange and AFS-USA. These two organizations coordinate exchange opportunities for international students studying in the U.S. Harshbarger and his family have hosted seven exchange students from five different countries.
“I want to be part of creating opportunities for our youth, whether through youth programs or economic growth, so if they want to stay in West Virginia upon entering the workforce, they can stay and provide a living for their family,” he says.
As a passionate and experienced outdoorsman who once spent three weeks living in the Alaskan wilderness in a tent on an unguided moose hunt, Harshbarger hopes to someday create a hunting, fishing and outdoors program for West Virginia youth whose parents are not interested in these activities.
“There are so many young people today who have not been taught about our hunting heritage or the responsibilities of handling a firearm,” he says. “Hunting teaches conservation, connecting with the outdoors, promoting health and fitness, developing life skills and learning responsibility.”
At the end of the day, Harshbarger’s best advice for improving the future of West Virginia is adaptation, flexibility and a willingness to change.
“As humans, we get so stuck in a routine and are hesitant or afraid of change,” he says. “I embrace change as I feel it keeps me on my toes and allows me to push myself to adapt and learn.”