About The Desoto Group

A rapidly growing, entrepreneurial company, The Desoto Group is a reliable resource for energy and telecom utilities engaging in infrastructure projects and service delivery. Founded in 2008, Desoto has grown into a robust EPCM firm with a rich portfolio of projects across the United States, yet we remain agile, personable, and service-oriented.
Well-capitalized and endowed with a deep bench of experts and operators, Desoto serves government/municipal, cooperative, and privately-owned utilities. We retain a committed leadership team constantly in pursuit of improvement and client satisfaction. Our employees and contractors abide by a stringent code of performance and ethics that has proven a winning formula for years.

Our Specialties

Sonya Montgomery


Sonya Montgomery is the Chairman and CEO of The Desoto Group and a seasoned executive with a proven record of operational achievement.

A hands-on executive, Ms. Montgomery is responsible for the oversight of day-to-day operations for Desoto’s core business lines nationwide, and for building relationships with public and private partners. Her continued focus on the development of operations strategy and account oversight ensures a consistent experience with each engagement.

Ms. Montgomery’s expertise is derived from over three decades of experience in state and federal government, public/private partnerships, and C-Level executive management. Well-versed in the challenges and opportunities of today’s business environment, she brings practical solutions to contracting, contingent labor, and compliance. Her service in the United States Army, the Executive Office of the Governor, and as a long-time government affairs consultant to Fortune 500 companies has afforded her the ability to leverage large-scale partnerships, develop unique and individualized strategic solutions for clientele, and establish–and uphold–clear expectations for project stakeholders.

John Smith

Senior Vice President,
Strategy & Business Development

John Smith recently joined The Desoto Group as the VP of Strategy and Business Development to assist with developing and implementing the T&D Engineering and Services group. Mr Smith will also oversee the planning and execution of Desoto’s energy projects on behalf of clients. Building on a storied career in the energy sector spanning four decades, he brings a wealth of skills developed from the trenches, as a technician at the start of his career to the highest levels of the industry. Lending his expertise to strategic planning, program management, finance, and organizational development, he’s a proven leader in building and operating energy utilities.

Prior to joining Desoto, Mr. Smith enjoyed fifteen years with Duke Energy, the nation’s largest utility, where he served as Senior Vice President. His purview included grid performance, contractor operations, delivery operations, construction, and maintenance. His hallmark achievements include disaster response in the wake of Hurricanes Matthew and Arthur, successfully standardizing a number of legacy distribution systems, and implementing innovative, large-scale computer diagnostics. He led teams of over 7,500 employees, and successfully integrated workforces following a merger between Duke and Progress Energy. He developed and implemented numerous standardization programs in areas as diverse as grid monitoring, distribution reliability, and vegetation management.

Mr. Smith now provides Desoto clients with strategic and executive management consulting.

Willie Searcy

Vice President,
Operations & Contract Services

Mr. Searcy is a third generation U.S. Army Veteran with strong leadership skills and an established background in logistics, project management and production control. As Desoto Group’s operational leader, he serves as the primary contract manager and liaison between utility companies and the firm’s service suppliers and product distribution services.

Mr. Searcy served two tours of overseas combat duty with the United States Army 82nd Airborne Division and several years of stateside service to his country. His military career engraved a unique skillset that he brandishes in every aspect of his Desoto Group position. Vast training in logistics and production control, and the responsibility of procuring and maintaining sensitive data from numerous projects all over the world prepared him for the broad spectrum of business lines that he now manages.

After the military, Mr. Searcy began working in the Power Delivery industry. As a tenured power lineman, he built, maintained, and serviced transmission and distribution systems and underground utilities. He was also a key participant in emergency storm restoration. Willie is a true professional, committed to providing the highest level of service. He stands ready and prepared to handle any issue, at any time, on behalf of his corporate clients and The Desoto Group, with a perpetual focus on the safety and well-being of the public.