Rob Thornton is president of the International District Energy Association, a 100-year-old U.S. non-profit association based in Westborough, Mass. Thornton is a nationally recognized leader in the district energy industry. He has been president of IDEA since 2000, a member since 1987, and previously served on the board of directors, including as IDEA’s chairman. For more than 20 years, Thornton has been at the forefront of energy issues and energy business development and management with a focus on district energy and combined heat and power. In his role as an industry advocate, he has briefed President George W. Bush, Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, EPA Administrator Christine Whitman, Congressional staff, governors and mayors on the benefits of district energy. He continues to work closely with the U.S. Department of Energy, Department of Commerce, the Environmental Protection Agency, Green Building Council and many other federal and international agencies and industry organizations. His prior experience includes senior posts at Energy Networks, Inc. in Hartford, Conn.; Cleveland Energy Resources in Cleveland, Ohio; Northwind Boston LLC; Reynolds Aluminum Solar Energy; and Megatech Corp. Thornton is a graduate of Tufts University, where he conducted research on global warming at the Energy Policy Information.