Former State Environmental Chief Gets Into Business

By Andrea Smardon

May 23, 2011

BOSTON — Former Massachusetts Energy & Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles is heading into the private sector. He left his post as the state's top environmental official at the beginning of this year, and is now starting a new consulting firm with three other colleagues from the state. 

Bowles spoke at a Massachusetts Agricultural Day event in April 2010. (photofarmer/Flickr)

Given his old job, Ian Bowles knows more than most about the highly-regulated energy industry -- and how it is changing.  Along with three other former staff from the Patrick administration, Bowles is starting a new consulting firm called Rhumb Line Energy.

Rhumb Line is a navigational term for a direct route between two points. Bowles thinks he and his colleagues can help businesses find that line. 

"So you’re seeing kind of a shake-out in the industry. You’re seeing a lot of bigger companies wanting to have a clean energy strategy. You’re seeing smaller companies trying to make it and sell to bigger ones. Our aim is to help companies sort out their game plan on clean energy, get projects built, and develop their businesses," Bowles said.

Bowles’ partners are all former staff who he hired to work in Energy and Environmental Affairs. They don’t plan to lobby the state, but to focus on building projects in the private sector.  Bowles is not allowed to work with any company that he’s made a ruling on. But, Bowles says, he can parlay his past work as a state official in getting clients outside of Massachusetts.

“Energy is one of the most regulated parts of our economy; understanding what incentives have been put in place is vitally important for a business’ success,” Bowles said.

Rhumb Line Energy is negotiating a lease on an office in Boston and expects to move in within a month.

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