Sharon Heaton, Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Government Affairs

Sharon HeatonSharon B. Heaton is an attorney with over 20 years of experience at the intersection of law, public policy and business. In both the public and private sectors, Ms. Heaton has sought to develop and commercialize new technologies advancing energy efficiency, modernize transportation, advance energy storage options and make energy generation from renewable and green sources (solar, wind, municipal waste, hydrokinetic and biofuel) cost competitive. She has also worked on efforts to modernize the technology and regulatory structure of the transmission grid.

Before co-founding Wellford Energy, Ms. Heaton served as Deputy Staff Director and General Counsel of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. In more than 5 years of service in senior roles in the Senate, Ms. Heaton has worked on matters before the Energy, Environment, Finance, Banking, Commerce and Judiciary Committees. She has also worked with numerous executive departments and independent agencies.

In the private sector, Ms. Heaton has served as general counsel, senior business executive, board member, principal investor and public policy advisor for publicly traded Fortune 500 companies as well as start-up and established privately held companies. Over the course of her career, she has advised manufacturing companies, utilities, independent power producers, electric transmission companies, gas pipelines, electric and gas distribution entities on legal, financial and public policy issues. She also served as General Counsel of Trans-Elect, the first independent transmission company in the United States.

Ms. Heaton served as Vice President and Deputy General Counsel of Columbia Energy Group, one of the nation’s largest integrated natural gas systems with assets in excess of $6 billion. While at Columbia, Ms. Heaton led the effort to obtain regulatory approval from over a dozen federal and state regulatory agencies required to complete a $12 billion merger of regulated utilities in record time. Ms. Heaton also directed teams in over 20 acquisitions or divestitures, advised the company and its board of directors on corporate governance and internal investigations, established compensation plans and developed policies and procedures to ensure compliance with Federal and state laws.

Sharon Heaton holds a Doctor of Law from the University of Chicago Law School and a B.A. magna cum laude in political science from Barnard College at Columbia University. Upon graduation from law school, Ms. Heaton served as a Federal law clerk for a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. She has been associated with the law firms of Skadden, Arps and Latham & Watkins.

Ms. Heaton has been an author and speaker on a wide range of topics, including developments in the energy industry, public and sector finance, the legislative process, legal ethics, lobbying reform and disclosure requirements, the banking and finance industries and issues confronting executive women.