Joseph Welch envisions a country connected like a superhighway for electricity and power transmission, a concept that he says will decrease energy costs and ensure another blackout like the one in 2003 never occurs again.
As CEO of ITC Holdings Corp., Welch is challenging the way the United States deals with power and electricity. He and his employees are working every day to accomplish his goal, but have seen opposition in a regulated industry in which utilities are not willing to sell their transmission lines.
The company was formed after a private equity firm approached Welch to head start-up ITC, with the requirement that he invest five times his annual salary in the firm. He emptied his life savings and both his and his wife’s retirement funds, and borrowed $500,000 to invest.
At the time, the company had electrical transmission assets but no employees, no ability to operate and maintain the assets, and no credit rating. Welch’s job was to recruit employees who would also invest in the company to get it up and running. And he made an arrangement with unionized workers to service the transmission lines, an agreement in which Welch helps them set up separate companies and share in the same bonuses that Welch does.
Under Welch’s leadership, ITC has gone from inception to IPO in 15 months and is consistently recognized for its growth. Looking ahead, ITC plans to expand its footprint across the United States through acquisitions and investments, and is calling attention to renewable resources and wind generation. HOW
TO REACH: ITC Holdings Corp., (248) 374-7110 or www.itc-holdings.com