WASHINGTON, D.C. – On August 22, 2019, Kelly Jaramillo and Lara Buluç, USDA Forest Service Regions 3 and 5 employees, were recognized as recipients of a FEDS Spotlight Award. The ceremony was hosted in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Energy Federal Energy Management Program Energy Exchange training event. Jaramillo, regional sustainable operations specialist, and Buluç, regional sustainable operations and co-climate change coordinator, are the second and third Forest Service employees to receive this award since it was first established in 2017.
FEDS Spotlight provides an opportunity for federal agencies to recognize their employees for going above and beyond day-to-day responsibilities to achieve mission goals in energy, water and fleet management. Through this recognition program, DOE FEMP seeks to recognize agency champions in the field who work hard to implement exceptional projects and programs that lead to affordable, replicable energy and water solutions that benefit American taxpayers.
Jaramillo’s passion for sustainability combined with her creativity and attention to detail have contributed to her success in implementing the priorities of Executive Order 13834. At the regional level, she mobilized a network for forest-level sustainable operations points of contact with engagement tools such as a region-wide microgrant program, strategic energy audit program, and asset priority Index workshops. At the national level, Jaramillo has been instrumental in updates to streamline the Leadership in Sustainability Online Database. Additionally, she championed the on-site incident recycling blanket purchase agreement deliverable under the National Greening Fire Team. Jaramillo also led the development of the GFT’s public-facing website.
Buluç serves as the co-project manager of the agency’s first off-grid energy savings performance contract ENABLE project. This project expands use of emerging technologies and increases the resilience of mission critical fire stations located on five national forests. Once all sites are commissioned, annual energy and cost-savings are estimated to be 3,023 MMBTU and $136,000. She also spearheaded the establishment of an agency-wide payment collection pathway for workplace electric vehicle charging, paving the way for increased charging station use by the public and employees. Nationally, Buluç co-chairs the National GFT tasked with integrating sustainability/energy management considerations into the fire community and supply chain.
Jaramillo and Buluç, both dedicated public servants and innovators, are well deserving of this prestigious award, two of just 34 given across the federal government this year.