Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: December 30, 2021
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Alenaa Yarmosky, | Virginia Department of Energy: Tarah Kesterson, (276) 356-3405,

Governor Northam Announces Virginia Energy Leader Honored for Talent Management

Chief Deputy Jennifer Palestrant’s education programs train young professionals for the offshore wind workforce

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced the Virginia Department of Energy Chief Deputy, Jennifer Palestrant, received a top award at the offshore wind industry’s Ventus Awards Gala hosted by the Business Network for Offshore Wind. Chief Deputy Palestrant received the Talent Management Leadership award for her work in education programs and training for young professionals entering the offshore wind workforce.

“Jennifer’s contributions to building Virginia’s workforce played a major role in making the Commonwealth a leader in the offshore wind industry,” said Governor Northam. “Her dedication to building the next generation of wind industry professionals has been so impactful. This award and recognition is well deserved.”

Jennifer Palestrant is the Chief Deputy of Virginia Energy and the Commonwealth’s first to lead the agency’s offshore wind program. The offshore wind industry has grown exponentially in Virginia and the Commonwealth is now considered a hub for the industry on the East Coast.

During her time as Virginia Energy Chief Deputy and Director of Offshore Wind, Palestrant partnered with other states and the Hampton Roads Alliance to further develop the offshore wind industry in Virginia. The training programs she implemented in Virginia colleges are successfully building a workforce with the necessary skill sets for careers in the renewable energy industry.

“We knew we needed someone to lay the foundation and showcase Virginia’s assets to set the stage for a national offshore wind industry,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “Jennifer has been at the forefront in marketing our state and ensuring the most important piece—the workforce—is ready as offshore wind and the related supply chain expands in Virginia.”

“Jennifer has made an indelible mark on the offshore wind industry through her tireless advocacy for educational programs and training for young professionals entering the offshore wind workforce,” said Business Network for Offshore Wind President and Chief Executive Officer Liz Burdock.  “She is a dynamic public servant that has embraced both the offshore wind industry and vigorously advocates for industry education that will benefit a variety of stakeholders.”

“Her knowledge of workforce development combined with offshore wind development is unmatched,” said Virginia Energy Director John Warren. “She is often invited to sit at very important tables when it comes to decision-making for the offshore wind industry on national and international levels.”

The Talent Management Leadership Award recognizes individuals who nurture and develop a new generation of leaders. It was one of ten awards presented at the Ventus Awards Gala.

Other Virginia companies were also awarded at the event. Orsted received the Offshore Wind Leadership award which noted its construction of the Coast Virginia Offshore Wind Pilot Project. Dominion Energy was awarded the Supply Chain Advancement Award for its Jones Act-compliant offshore wind turbine installation vessel, Charybdis, which has played a significant role in developing the domestic supply chain.

More information on the award can be found here.

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