MONTPELIER Robert Ide, a former State Senator from Caledonia County and currently the Director of Energy Efficiency for the Vermont Department of Public Service, has agreed to become the new Rail Program Manager for the Vermont Agency of Transportation. A former agriculture-based business owner who relied heavily on rail to both ship and receive products, Ide served eight years on the Senate Transportation Committee. He is intimately familiar with many of the issues that he will face in his new role. Ide is expected to begin his new duties June 16. Rob is keenly aware of the importance that rail plays in Vermonts economy, said Agency of Transportation Secretary Neale Lunderville. He brings a wealth of knowledge to the position, and we are extremely happy to have him on board. Ide served in the Vermont Senate from 1993 until 2003, when he stepped down to become the Director of Energy Efficiency under the then newly elected Governor, Jim Douglas. Upon being sworn into the Senate in January of 1993, Ide was immediately appointed to the Senate Appropriations Committee a highly unusual honor for a freshman where he served until his retirement 10 years later. In 1995, he was also appointed to the Senate Transportation Committee, where he also served until his retirement. Outside the Statehouse, Ide helped run his familys agricultural feed and grain business, ET & HK Ide, Inc. The family sold the business, which was headquartered in St. Johnsbury, in 2002. We were a heavy user of rail as both a receiver and a shipper, Ide said. If we had not had rail, we could not have run our business. Ide said he looks forward to his new challenge, and plans to bring an energy-conscious focus to his work. Moving freight by rail is so much more energy efficient than doing so by truck, Ide said. Heavy commodities should be moved by rail whenever possible because using rail reduces energy consumption significantly. Ide, 56, is a seventh generation Vermonter who lives in Peacham with his wife, Martha, who is a nurse in the Danville School System. The couple has two adult children.