PROFILE: Lori Forsman, Sustainability Programs Manager, Orange County, FL

Lori Forsman, Sustainability Officer, Orange County, FL

Lori Forsman
Sustainability Programs Manager
Orange Co., Florida

I recently became Orange County’s Sustainability Programs Manager after working as a contractor with the county for 3+ years.  I has a degree in Applied Mathematics from IUP (ever heard of it?) and a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering from The Johns Hopkins University.  In a previous career, I worked as a Senior Systems Engineer at Lockheed Martin Corporation in east Orlando and in northern Virginia (DC area). I joined SSDN a few years ago, but had the opportunity to attend my first Annual Meeting this past year in Sarasota. This in-person meeting was invaluable.  I learned so many things from just talking to everyone, not to mention from the work sessions. But most importantly, those connections have empowered me to move forward on a number of topics and use the support of other members to assist in the process. Orange County is beginning to re-work its sustainability initiative with a County Operations plan and then an updated Community Plan.  As a result, I have been gathering benchmark data for energy, water, waste, etc…from all internal county operations and with 72 divisions within 10 major departments, it is a big effort. In addition, I am working on projects to address internal recycling, develop a single-use plastics policy, update our code to address food systems, transition to 100% recycled content paper and many more. I am very proud of the work I have done in data collection and refinement because measurable targets are important to successful projects and good storytelling.  I am also proud of the outreach I have done, raising awareness of our County’s sustainability initiatives not only in planned classes and events, but personally with family, friends, and outside organizations. Outside of work, I am a mom of two young women; my oldest is age 20 studying Environmental Science at UF and the younger one is age 17, and a senior at Timber Creek High School. So I have spent the last few years going in multiple directions, simultaneously!  Next year, with both of them off at college, my husband and I will be able to relax a little and have more fun; of course we will be a little sad too. But I also want to share that I am a true northerner, originally from upstate New York and Eastern Pennsylvania, so I am still learning about Florida every day, and I will probably never adjust to the heat!