Resilience Personified

SCE eMobility leader fights for a clean energy future while also fighting to stay alive.
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Stories : People

Resilience Personified

SCE eMobility leader fights for a clean energy future while also fighting to stay alive.

It’s the news everyone dreads when visiting the doctor for something like a headache that won’t go away. For 38-year-old Justin Bardin, a married father of two and a senior manager with Southern California Edison’s eMobility program, the diagnosis came nearly four years ago.

"The hardest part was the beginning. The shock of being a healthy male and suddenly finding out you have brain cancer with a 5% survival rate and processing that your life is likely over,” Bardin said. “There's no way to describe that feeling, looking at your boys and thinking about all the life milestones you’re going to miss. And wondering, ‘Are they going to be OK; is your wife going to be OK?’”

(L-r) Justin Bardin, his sons Charlie and Peter, and his wife Jill.
(L-r) Justin Bardin, his sons Charlie and Peter, and his wife Jill. PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy of Justin Bardin.

His initial fears of imminent death proved unfounded, perhaps because Bardin has never shied from a challenge. He graduated first in his class from the U.S. Naval Academy and has master’s degrees from both Harvard and USC. He served eight years in the Navy, including three aboard a nuclear submarine with a mission of deterring a nuclear attack against the United States.

Bardin has endured three grueling brain surgeries, needs a cane to walk and has lost 80% of his vision. He is classified as terminal, with doctors estimating he has anywhere from several months to a few years to live.

"Resilience to me means to continue to battle no matter the challenge. And what's been unique about brain cancer, is you never know what's coming next. You never know what the next tumor's going to do to you," Bardin said.

Still, he remains grateful, especially when remembering classmates at the Naval Academy who didn’t come home from recent military conflicts.

“I think about how much better I have it to be able to have this long goodbye versus dying alone in the desert of Afghanistan. I’m not crashing in an airplane. I get to fight this.”

After meeting Justin Bardin (right) for coffee, Pedro Pizarro, president and CEO of Edison International, said he "redefines pure resilience."
After meeting Justin Bardin (right) for coffee, Pedro Pizarro, president and CEO of Edison International, said he "redefines sheer resilience." PHOTO CREDIT: Pedro Pizarro

And fight he has, not just for himself and his family but also to help realize SCE’s vision of a clean energy future through his work deploying electric vehicle charging stations in disadvantaged communities, apartments and parking garages. He has continued to work at SCE throughout much of his cancer battle.

"I know my team sometimes thinks I'm crazy because I'm so excited and energetic about what we’re doing. I try to instill that energy in my team and help them realize the magnitude of the impact we're making,” Bardin said. “We want to make sure no one is left behind in the EV revolution.”

“Amazingly, he has continued contributing to SCE’s mission throughout years of surgeries and chemotherapy. Justin redefines sheer resilience,” said Pedro Pizarro, president and CEO of Edison International.

Bardin’s commitment has been recognized by his SCE colleagues, who have donated enough of their own vacation hours for him to take time off needed for surgeries and treatment without missing a paycheck.

Bardin says his young sons have inspired his work toward securing a clean energy future.
Bardin says his young sons have inspired his work toward securing a clean energy future. PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy of Justin Bardin

“From day one, I’ve had my wife Jill by my side. She has carried me. But we have felt so embraced by the Edison team. We haven’t been on this island alone.”

Bardin says his passion for the clean energy mission is fueled by the opportunity to contribute to a better future for his sons Charlie and Peter, ages six and two.

The milestones he’s able to share with them are precious.

“With the little eyesight I have left, I helped Charlie learn to ride a bike and taught him how to hit his first ball in a T-ball game. Those moments are priceless in my given state, ” Bardin said. “If I can lower pollution for my boys and the next generation, that could mean less cancer. That means the world to me.”

“I’m fighting for each year right now. I want to see both my boys turn 18. I want to see them go off to college,” Bardin said. “I would hope my boys look back and think, ‘Man, my dad battled.’”


Justin would like to thank several people who have supported him during his battle, including his Harvard and Naval Academy classmates, his wife Jill and many colleagues from Southern California Edison, including his entire eMobility team. For those wishing to contribute to Justin’s fight against brain cancer, visit his GoFundMe site Help Justin Fight Brain Cancer.