BOSTON, July 10, 2006 - Robert P. Thornton, president of the Westborough-based International District Energy Association, received the IDEA's prestigious Norman R. Taylor award in June at the organization's 97th Annual Conference & Trade Show in Nashville, Tenn.
The award is the highest distinction IDEA can confer on an individual, recognizing that person's career achievements and contributions to the association and the district energy and combined heat and power industries.
IDEA's 2005-2006 Chair Cheryl Gomez, director of energy and utilities at the University of Virginia, presented the award: “The Norm Taylor Award is the crowning jewel in the IDEA crown. To us, it means the winner is the best of the best. IDEA is the strong, vibrant, wonderful association it has become in large part due to President Rob Thornton's tireless and dedicated service, his countless hours of hard work, and his positive 'can-do' attitude. He has been key to the association's receipt of federally funded grants that support our industry and IDEA's mission. He has devoted himself to countless IDEA initiatives, including the development of the Middle East Chapter, the signing of a Cooperation Agreement with the Korea District Heating Association, the development of the outline for a district cooling best practices guide, and the recycled energy campaign.”
Award recipients are selected annually by a committee comprised of IDEA members and industry peers. The award's namesake, Norman R. Taylor, was IDEA's president from 1977- 1978, and executive director from 1980 until he passed away in 1986. He was known for boldly setting goals, preparing for the future and treating individuals with genuine kindness.
Thornton became IDEA's full-time president in June 2000 after having been a member of the organization for nearly 13 years. Within a year of taking the helm, Thornton in May 2001 briefed President George W. Bush, then Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham and then EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman on the benefits of district energy as reflected in the president's national energy policy announcement and plan. Thornton previously worked for district energy systems in Hartford, Conn.; Cleveland, Ohio; and Boston, Mass. He is a graduate of Tufts University.