PROFILE: Brennan Bouma, Sustainability Coordinator, Orange Co., NC

Brennan Bouma, Sustainability Coordinator, Orange County, NC

Brennan Bouma
Sustainability Coordinator
Orange Co., NC

I’ve been the Sustainability Coordinator for Orange County, NC since late 2014 and am the first to hold this position. I support all of the County’s work on Energy Management, Climate Change mitigation and resilience, greening the fleet, and ADA accessibility. I also manage the County’s Transportation Demand Management Coordinator who works to provide and promote alternatives to single-occupancy vehicle travel such as telework, transit, and ride-sharing.

I live in Carrboro with my lovely wife and lively young boys (4 years old and 20 months old) and we spend as much time as we can mountain biking and playing outside.

I grew up in Westminster,  Maryland near Baltimore. Besides the 2.5 years I was abroad with the Peace Corps I’ve lived in the Chapel Hill/Carrboro area since 1998, when I came to UNC-Chapel Hill to get a Biology degree. During a summer fellowship in a yeast genetics lab at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, I learned two main things: 1.) Working on the basic science to understand the way cancer cells communicate is a fascinating world that is part of finding effective treatments, and 2.) There are other people who enjoy doing that research a lot more than I did!

After college, in the Peace Corps I found a love for community engagement, sustainable agriculture, and travel. That experience led me to 5 years of work with the Institute for the Environment at UNC Chapel Hill helping to translate and apply the latest environmental health science for the benefit of North Carolina communities. With a desire to apply this work on a more local level, I got a Master’s in City Planning from UNC (I can’t get enough of that place) and spent 3 years promoting alternatives to petroleum with the regional Triangle Clean Cities Coalition. When the opportunity to work in Sustainability for Orange County and create lasting improvements in the place I’d spent the past 15 years, I jumped on it and it’s been the best choice I could have made. I get to work with a team of committed and professional staff to support the vision of a thoughtful and progressive Board of Commissioners who represent a diverse and vibrant community of academics, farmers, activists, and entrepreneurs. Also, it’s beautiful in the Spring. You should come visit.