Third Way exec to lead ethanol giant’s federal affairs shop

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, June 13, 2013

Rob Walther, the deputy director for Washington think tank Third Way’s clean energy program, is leaving his post to head up the federal affairs shop at Poet LLC, the second-biggest U.S. ethanol producer.

“We need a sustainable transportation fuel sector rather than one dependent on one fuel source, and this has been a passion of mine ever since I arrived in Washington,” Walther said. “It’s a company I can get behind.”

Walther said Poet is a proven innovator and recently built a commercial-scale cellulosic plant in Iowa to turn corncobs, leaves, husks and stalks into ethanol (E&ENews PM, March 13, 2012).

Walther was hired by Third Way in February 2011 and also served as the think tank’s senior policy adviser. He developed policies to promote and advance clean energy innovation and reduce emissions.

Prior to joining Third Way, he was a House Science and Technology staffer under then-Chairman Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.). Walther worked nuclear power, coal, natural gas and the “smart grid.”

Walther, a native of New York City, also worked on energy and environmental policy issues as a lobbyist for Wexler & Walker Public Policy Associates from late 2006 through 2009.

He also helped manage former New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley’s New York City office during his 2000 run for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Walther earned a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College and a law degree from Brooklyn Law School.