The Indiana State Department of Agriculture today recognized Thorntons Inc., as the winner of the 2012 Paul Dana Excellence in Bioenergy Leadership Award. Indiana Agriculture Director Joseph Kelsay presented the award during the Greater Indiana Clean Cities Coalition Holiday Reception at Piper’s West in Indianapolis. The Paul Dana Award recognizes those who have exemplified leadership and innovative vision in the bioenergy industry. Governor Mitch Daniels and Lt. Governor Becky Skillman established the award to honor the memory of Indy Racing League driver Paul Dana, a strong supporter of Indiana’s growing biofuels industry, who was killed in a racing accident in 2006. “I congratulate the Thornton family for its entrepreneurial spirit, growing the fueling business from a single station in New Albany, Ind. in 1952 to be among Forbes Magazine’s 500 largest privately held companies today,” said Lt. Governor Skillman, who serves as Secretary of Agriculture. “We thank you for your support of Indiana and including mid-level ethanol blends and E85 at your stations.”
Thorntons began retailing gasoline in 1952 with a single location in New Albany, Indiana. This effort led to the very rapid growth of a chain of gas stations called “Payless.” These were sold and the founder, James H. Thornton, began work on a new brand bearing his name. The first “Thorntons” opened in 1971 in Clarksville, Ind. which then grew to over 100 locations in the 1980’s and revolutionized the convenience store industry in 1997. This award-winning prototype store featured a wide variety of fast-food products, groceries and beverages within a well-lit, customer-friendly environment.
In 2002, Matt Thornton, son of James Thornton, added his touch to the industry by introducing a larger facility with an expanded fast-food program, a corner-grocery concept, sparkling restrooms and top-notch employees.
The 2012 Greater Indiana Clean Cities Award Recipients:
- Ethanol Blends Award – Thorntons Inc.
- Propane/Autogas Award – Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT)
- Compressed Natural Gas Award – Palmer Trucks
- Support of Multiple Alternative Fuels and Technologies (Silver BB’s Award) – Ivy Tech Lafayette Automotive Department, Alternative Fuels Technical Training
- BioDiesel Blends – North Central Co-op
Indiana currently has 13 completed ethanol plants. The combined production of the plants exceeds one billion gallons of ethanol annually and uses approximately 313 million bushels of corn.
Indiana is the fourth largest soybean state and now has five biodiesel plants with a combined capacity of more than 100 million gallons of biodiesel.