Geothermal Exchange Organization (GEO) chairman of the board Daniel Ellis (ClimateMaster Inc.) recently announced that Douglas Dougherty accepted the position of GEO president, effective March 21.

GEO is a non-profit trade association providing education and advocacy for the geothermal heat pump (GHP) industry. GHP systems tap the renewable energy of the Earth, typically save 50 percent or more in heating and cooling costs for residential and commercial buildings. GHPs offer significant reductions in pollution and greenhouse gases from conventional energy sources.

Prior to accepting his new position with GEO, Dougherty was president of the Illinois Telecommunications Association (ITA), an inclusive group of more than 60 services providers operating in Illinois. ITA members include local exchange carriers, wireless providers, interexchange carriers and competitive local exchange carriers. He was responsible for articulating their points of view before the Illinois Commerce Commission, the legislative and executive branches of Illinois government, and to the public.

"The GEO board of directors and staff are excited that Doug has decided to lead our organization," says Ellis. "Doug's credentials and experience at the highest levels of government will bring insight and new directions to our efforts and the success we have already achieved for the geothermal heating and cooling industry nationwide."

Before accepting his position with ITA, Dougherty worked for Illinois’ lieutenant governor – first as executive director of the governor’s Rural Affairs Council, and then as senior advisor for economic development. Prior to returning to state government in 1995, he spent nine years working for an electric power generator and transmission cooperative in a number of management positions, including assistant general manager for external affairs. Under Dougherty’s leadership, the cooperative created a for-profit statewide stocking distributorship of geothermal heat pumps in 1988.

During Dougherty’s tenure, the distributorship created an extensive network of geothermal heat pump dealers, and provided them with training and technical support. The distributorship worked with the drilling industry and persuaded it to redirect resources to install geothermal loops and to understand the value to their industry in supporting the geothermal heat pump industry. Many believed the distributorship was the catalyst in creating a new market in Illinois for this emerging technology.

From 1976 through 1986, Doug worked for several state agencies, including the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs, and the Illinois Commerce Commission, where he was assistant general manager.

During his public and private sector careers in community and economic development, Doug has been recognized for his contributions to number of well-known organizations, including Rural Partners, which he helped form in 1989, and the Illinois Development Council, which awarded Dougherty its Economic Developer of the Year Award in 1991.

Dougherty earned his undergraduate degree in political science from Bradley University, followed by a masters degree in public administration from the University of Illinois, Springfield.

“I am pleased to be back representing the geothermal heat pump industry," Dougherty said in accepting the position. "GEO has tremendous potential to broaden the market, to create new jobs and to preserve the environment. I look forward to working with the GEO membership and collectively advancing the industry.”