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John D’Orazio

The top executive of RGC Resources, the parent company of Roanoke Gas Co., announced his retirement this week.

President and CEO John D’Orazio will step down effective Feb. 7, the company said in a filing Tuesday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

He will be replaced by Paul Nester, the current president of Roanoke Gas.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to lead RGC Resources for the past six years and to work with an exceptional management team, board of directors and dedicated employees,” D’Orazio said in a news release.

“This company has been a family to me for over 27 years and I will miss the day-to-day interaction with co-workers.”

D’Orazio, 59, will serve in an advisory capacity for a year following his voluntary retirement, the news release said.

The announcement comes shortly after RGC reported record earnings for the fifth consecutive fiscal year.

Net income for the 12 months that ended Sept. 30 was $8.7 million, compared to $7.3 million for the same period in 2018. D’Orazio’s annual salary is $450,000, according to an SEC filing.

John Williamson, D’Orazio’s predecessor and current chairman of the RGC board, expressed the board’s “deep appreciation” for his leadership and full faith in Nester assuming the role.

In recent years, Roanoke Gas has come under criticism from some quarters for its involvement in the controversial Mountain Valley Pipeline.

RGC Midstream, another subsidiary of RGC Resources, is a 1% partner in the natural gas pipeline, which has been hampered by environmental problems, legal challenges, cost overruns and construction delays.

But in announcing RGC’s annual results earlier this month, D’Orazio cited investment in the pipeline — which will become the third source of natural gas to customers in the region — as one of the reasons for the company’s strong growth.

Roanoke Gas has about 62,200 residential and commercial customers in Roanoke and Salem and the counties of Bedford, Botetourt, Franklin, Roanoke and Montgomery.

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Laurence Hammack covers environmental issues, including the Mountain Valley Pipeline, and business and enterprise stories. He has been a reporter for The Roanoke Times for more than three decades.

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