Executive Vice President & Chief External Officer, American Electric Power
Dennis E. Welch is executive vice president and chief external officer for American Electric Power. He is based in Columbus, Ohio. As a senior officer of the company, he serves on the company’s Executive Council.
Welch is responsible for governmental affairs, environmental affairs and services, corporate communications, safety and health, corporate sustainability, strategy policy analysis, corporate security and aviation, and real estate and workplace services.
Welch previously served as executive vice president and chief administrative officer. Prior to that, he served as executive vice president - Environment, Safety and Health & Facilities, since 2007. Under his leadership, the company’s commitment to sustainability advanced significantly, nationally and internationally, and is clearly defined in AEP’s annual Corporate Accountability Report.
He joined AEP in 2005 as senior vice president of Environment and Safety.
American Electric Power is one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system, a nearly 39,000-mile network that includes more 765-kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined.
Welch was previously president and chief operating officer of Yankee Gas & Yankee Energy System, an operating subsidiary of Northeast Utilities (NU) in Berlin, CT. He was named president and chief operating officer of Yankee Gas, Connecticut’s largest natural gas distribution company, and Yankee Energy System in 2001. During his tenure at Yankee Energy, Welch chaired the Northeast Gas Association for two years, helping the industry trade association navigate through difficult times and a merger with the New York Gas Association. A 20-year veteran of NU, Welch served as vice president of Environmental, Safety & Ethics at NU for four years immediately prior to his position at Yankee Gas & Yankee Energy.
A native of New Albany, Ind., Welch earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental, health and safety management from Indiana State University at Terre Haute and a master’s degree in business and human resource management from the Hartford Graduate Center of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He also completed the Executive Environmental Leadership Program at Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
Currently, Welch serves as AEP’s policy committee co-chair voting representative to the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) Board of Directors and is AEP’s primary representative to its Executive Committee. He also serves on the AEP Foundation Board of Directors and he represents AEP at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. He also serves on the boards of the National Urban League, Cardinal Operating Co., the Greater Columbus Sports Commission, Franklin Park Conservatory, the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Champions of the Community, and TRC, a national engineering services, consulting and construction management firm that provides integrated services to the energy, environmental and infrastructure markets. He recently was elected to the Board of Trustees for the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute Foundation at The Ohio State University and was appointed to the New Albany, Ohio Community Foundation Board of Trustees.
In addition to being past chairman of the Northeast Gas Association (NGA), he also chaired the NGA's Gas Supply Task Force. He also was a member of the Board of Directors of the American Gas Association (AGA), AGA's Leadership Council, and the AGA's Security, Integrity and Reliability Committee. He is a past chairman of the Research and Advisory Committee for the Electric Power Research Institute. He served on the University of Connecticut’s Advisory Board for the School of Engineering and the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Advisory Board Nuclear & Environmental Engineering. He is a former member of the Board of Trustees for The Nature Conservancy and a former member of the Connecticut Yankee Atomic Power Company Decommissioning Advisory Board, and the National Safety Council Public Utilities Executive Committee.
Welch lives in New Albany, Ohio, with his wife Elizabeth Monahan. He has a daughter, Danielle, who lives in Washington, D.C.