Terry Boston has worked shoulder-to-shoulder with energy leaders around the world, traveling to France, South Africa, China, South Korea and other countries. He has explained complex energy issues to White House staff and U.S. Congress members. He has established business relationships with several U.S. governors and public utility commissioners. He has testified before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and served on boards for groups such as the IEEE, CIGRÉ, the Association of Edison Illuminating Companies, the North American Electric Reliability Council and the Very Large Power Grid Operators of the World, better known as GO15. And now he leads one of the premier regional transmission organizations (RTOs) in the United States, the PJM Interconnection, Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, U.S.

He earned his status in the industry through planning, hard work and relationship building. These qualities served him well and garnered him the respect of those he worked with as he rose through the ranks at Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), Knoxville, Tennessee, U.S., which he joined in 1972 as a project engineer after earning an engineering degree at Tennessee Technological University.

Boston took the TVA job after being shown the control room under construction there. “It was wow!” Boston said with a still noticeable Tennessee accent. “Two stories underground, designed for anything other than a direct nuclear attack and with state-of-the-art computing power. I thought, ‘This is cutting edge.’”

During his 35 years at TVA, he rose to executive vice president of power system operations, then left in 2008 to become president and CEO of PJM Interconnection. PJM controls 65,556 miles (105,502 km) of transmission lines serving 61 million people in 13 states and the District of Columbia, manages 186,000 MW of generation (including 33 nuclear generating units) and coordinates the movement of US$100 million per day in wholesale electricity transactions, all of which makes it one of the largest RTOs in the world and puts it in the elite GO15 group of grid operators, of which Boston was president in 2013.

PJM has grown even more since Boston became president and CEO in 2008. He has expanded PJM’s total market from $26.7 billion to $35.9 billion, has increased PJM’s member companies from 500 to 879 and has received approval for more than $15 billion of new transmission.

However, Boston’s story is really a story of teams working together to make a difference, and Terry’s accomplishments and awards are but an outward view of an inner fire and true compassion. Wherever Boston has worked, he expected and awarded excellence.

“If you ever worked around Terry, and he saw you were competent in something, he never forgot that,” said Ron Rogers, who worked with Boston in TVA’s regional operation and transmission O&M group. Even if 20 years had passed, Boston would remember how someone impressed him and would help them advance if he thought they could help TVA.

“That was something special about him,” Rogers said. “A lot of people advanced based on Terry’s recollection of how they had done in other areas.”

David Hall, a childhood friend of Boston’s who roomed with him at Tennessee Tech and also became an engineer at TVA, worked for Boston’s group at one point in his career, but he never felt he got the job because of his friendship with Terry.

“Terry would always help a friend, but he would want his group to be successful,” Hall said. “So when Terry made decisions like that, he made them so his group could be successful, not just to help friends.”

Boston enjoys helping to develop the people around him, taking great pride in that both TVA and PJM offer assistance to employees getting advanced degrees.

“As I looked to build a solid team and to advance the organization, I was always looking for the brightest and best, and hiring them and giving them a chance to develop and produce new ideas,” Boston said.