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Women Bisnow
March 13, 2008

Pepco’s Politico

This issue of Washington Women is presented by
Reznick Group:
"Building Business Value"


By Karin Tanabe for Bisnow on Business

If you’re going to work with Beverly Perry, SVP for Government Affairs and Public Policy at Pepco Holdings, you better start swinging that nine iron. “When I came to Pepco, all top five senior management played golf,” Beverly says.  “I saw them leaving the building and asked Vice Chairman Bill Torgerson where they were going. He said ‘to play golf’’ and unfortunately I couldn’t come because I couldn’t play. I said, ‘I can fix that’ and took my first lesson at Hains Point. You need ways to have management see you and there’s no better way to spend five hours with the CEO than golf.”


Perry is currently vacationing in Spain. Wonder what she’s reading on her way from Barcelona to Madrid? The Audacity of Hope and A New Earth.


Perry grew up on a tobacco farm in North Carolina, where her father was a businessman and independent farmer. “He believed in hard work, not education,” Perry says.  Her  parents wouldn’t sign her college application, so she waited until she was 18 to apply on her own. She came to Washington in January of ’68, attending GW at night while working full-time as a secretary at DoJ.

At Justice she met Michele Rollins, a young lawyer who said “‘you can’t stop now, you have to go to law school.’” Perry heeded her advice and started Georgetown Law, again taking classes at night while working full-time.  She followed Rollins from Justice to EPA to the Department of the Interior where she met another mentor, Federal Claims Court Judge Marian Horn, whom she clerked for before joining Frank, Bernstein, Conaway & Goldman. She joined Pepco in 1990 as Manager of Government Relations for DC and Federal Affairs.


Beverly’s key to success: advocating for others.  She says what matters is not “what you do for yourself but what you do for others.”


In 2000, the company faced a major challenge: 100,000 barrels of oil spilled into southern Maryland’s Patuxent River. “I drove there every day for two months during the cleanup. The Coast Guard and the EPA said ‘you have been here everyday, you should do the PR.’ That was something that set me apart. We assured the community that the fish was safe but people still didn’t believe us, so I decided to host a fish fry. Many said no one would attend, but 2,500 people came and there were no more issues with Patuxent River seafood after that.”


Perry shows off her “Taste of the Patuxent” hat. 


The main issue on Pepco’s plate today is energy efficiency programs and who should administer them. “Historically, the utility companies have been the best to manage reduction in use. Now states want to get involved. In all jurisdictions, the key issue is who is in charge? It’s technology-related. We already have meters in place and plan to switch nearly two million meters to ‘smart meters’ in the next five years, enabling customers to better manage their energy use and adjust their spending.” Thomas Edison would certainly approve.

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