Dominion Nuclear Engineer To Compete in Miss USA Pageant

RICHMOND, Va., June 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A Dominion nuclear engineer will be competing in the Miss USA pageant in June.  If she wins, she will go on to compete for the Miss Universe title.

(Photo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110613/NE18133 )

Brittany N. Poteet, 23, is a radiation protection engineer at the company's Innsbrook office in Glen Allen and is the reigning Miss Virginia USA. She says competing in beauty pageants is fun and exciting but not as important as making radiation safety calculations.

"I don't have a lot of down time," Poteet said.  "I don't even have a TV because I don't have time to watch it. Competing in beauty pageants is like having a second job.  But I always knew I wanted to have a real career, one that I could count on and that would pay the bills. What I do here at Dominion is really important – it's my first and biggest responsibility."

Poteet, who goes by "Nikki," joined the company in December as a full-time engineer after working for Dominion as a college intern.  She has an undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering and a master's degree in nuclear engineering, both from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Ever since she was a little girl growing up in Bristol, Va., dressing up was tops on her playlist. "The makeup, fancy dresses, and big hair – I love it all," Poteet says. "But I still like explaining a nuclear chain reaction. It's great seeing the surprised and amazed looks on people's faces."

She has been competing in beauty pageants since attending Thomas Dale High School in Chesterfield County.  

"My parents never pushed me," she said.  "I grew up a tomboy but I always liked Barbie dolls, dressing up and hair and makeup stuff, too.  In high school my friends told me I should start competing in pageants, so I did.  I am very competitive."

It was in high school, too, that she would also discover her love for math and science, leading directly to her future career.

"Don't tell anyone, but deep inside I'm kind of a dork," she said with a laugh.  In the little spare time she has, she enjoys snowboarding, wake boarding, travel and playing the saxophone and guitar.

At Dominion, Poteet works in nuclear engineering, focusing on radiological safety programs associated with the company's four nuclear power stations. She also enjoys working with high school students who are considering careers in engineering.

She is the daughter of Dan and Alice Poteet of Chester. She won the Miss Virginia USA title Nov. 6 at a pageant at the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts in Virginia Beach.  The Miss USA 2011 contest will be held in Las Vegas June 19 and will be televised live.

"I'm preparing now and I will be ready," she said.

"The most rewarding part of being Miss Virginia USA is helping my community and organizations raise money for great causes across the state," Poteet says. "It's a busy lifestyle right now, but somehow I fit it all in, thanks to three calendars that keep me straight."

Dominion is one of the nation's largest producers and transporters of energy, with a portfolio of approximately 27,600 megawatts of generation. Dominion operates the nation's largest natural gas storage system and serves retail energy customers in 14 states. For more information about Dominion, visit the company's website at www.dom.com

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SOURCE Dominion