PROFILE: Jane Gregory, Pollution Prevention Coordinator, Orange County EPD
Orange Co., FL
Jane graduated from the University of Florida with an Animal Science degree and began her first job as a chemist for a hazardous waste facility. She moved on to FL’s Dept. of Env. Protection and for 10 years managed Superfund site cleanups, inspected hazardous waste facilities, and coordinated emergency responses. Eventually, she began working in the private sector authoring environmental compliance training content and managing an online training system used by military installations throughout the US, Asia, and Europe.
In 2010, Orange County hired her as a contractor to develop and manage a Residential Energy Efficiency incentive program focused on changing energy use behaviors. When their pollution prevention position opened up 2 years ago, she stepped seamlessly back into the public sector full-time. She also teaches ongoing hazardous waste education at the University of Florida TREEO Center.
I’ve been aware of SSDN since 2012 when the Orange County sustainability assessment was underway. I got involved in the 2014 Mayor’s Challenge project and have volunteered to lead the 2015 Staff Buy-in Work Group. I see SSDN as dealing with the high level as opposed to very technical issues, and likes the ease of information access.
What are some challenges you face in your work?
The private sector doesn’t always see government as an advocate and partner, but more of an enforcer. I work to build relationships, increase trust, and educate businesses on how they can operate profitably while conserving resources, especially in light of impending population growth and staggering numbers of visitors each year. Reducing impacts on already strained water resources and environmentally sensitive lands is critical to maintaining Central FL’s quality of life.
Another challenge is waste. Floridians typically generate double the national average of 4.5 pounds of garbage / person / day. Florida’s legislature has mandated a 75% recycling goal, and I work to push the initiative through education, outreach, and partnerships. Regardless of the challenges, my job is fun and rewarding. I see my role as supporting county staff to help keep Central Florida as a place where people will continue to enjoy living in and visiting.