Secretary Ian Bowles (Massachusetts Department of Energy and Environmental Affairs) has resigned and will not be joining Governor Deval Patrick for his second term. During Secretary Bowles’ term, Massachusetts assumed a leadership role in the nation’s quest for renewable energy and sustainable consumption practices. Secretary Bowles realized that the Commonwealth’s natural resources –progressive leadership and an innovation economy – could propel the state to the position historically held by California, or Oregon, or Vermont.
Secretary Bowles ran an expansive agency after Governor Patrick made Massachusetts the first state to put both Energy and Environment under unified leadership. No one would argue that having an environmental voice would promote clean energy initiatives, but others grumbled that the environment needed a dedicated champion. It was always fun to read Secretary Bowles twitter stream (@secbowles) and see tweets about whales and birds intermingled with those about wind turbines or energy efficiency.
I will not recount all of Secretary Bowles’s accomplishments and realize some of these – like Cape Wind – came with controversy. But, I will say that Secretary Bowles was a jobs guy – in fact all successful politicians need to be jobs guys. He realized that in order to protect our economy and way off life, we needed to secure our energy future and the environment.
Yesterday, I had a chance to meet briefly the in-coming Secretary, Richard Sullivan (not sure yet if he tweets). Rick Sullivan was a long-term mayor of Westfield, when Secretary Bowles selected him to become the Commissioner of Department of Conservation and Recreation in 2007. At the DCR, Commissioner Sullivan oversaw all the open, public lands – approximately 10% of the state’s land area.
In-coming Secretary Sullivan will pick up where Secretary Bowles left off with a growing local cleantech community and economy. Though, he will face new regional and national challenges as the tides have turned because of the results of the mid-term elections. Luckily, many of Secretary’s Bowles’ very capable staff have signed up for another tour of duty, including Phil Guidice (Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Energy) and Pat Cloney (Executive Director of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center). I look forward to helping in-coming Secretary Sullivan in any way I can.
Digital Lumens and I wish Ian the best of luck with the next phase of his career. He was great Secretary and I am sure he will go on to accomplish much. Judging from conversations I have had with others in the local cleantech community, he has a strong fan base and I am sure that his phone is ringing off the hook.