When Eileen Horn saw the job description for a new city-county sustainability coordinator position, the Lawrence resident said she could have written it, describing her ideal job.
Horn’s enthusiasm for environmental issues and energy savings helped land her the job, city and county leaders said this week.
“Her enthusiasm is contagious,” Douglas County Administrator Craig Weinaug said. “She just was very knowledgeable about all the things that we needed.”
The city and county commissions created the joint position last year, and Horn will start her new job in early May.
“What I love about sustainability is that it really is a great opportunity for us to develop as a community in a way that can spread the local economy and also protect the environment for future generations,” Horn said.
She is currently the director of education and outreach for the Lawrence-based Climate and Energy Project of the Land Institute. Horn, 29, has lived in Lawrence since 2007.
She is originally from Lenexa and also is an adjunct professor of environmental science at Johnson County Community College. She has served on the city’s Sustainability Advisory Board and the Community Mercantile’s board of directors.
Horn earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from The Catholic University of America in 2002 and a master’s in natural resources from the University of Vermont in 2007.
Her job duties will be split between the city and county. Horn will work to identify potential energy savings on local government buildings and also be responsible for coordinating efforts in the community, including the county’s recently formed Food Policy Council, devoted to strengthening the locally produced food network.
“In many ways, she’s just tailor-made in the experience that she’s had,” assistant city manager Cynthia Wagner said.
The city and county chose Horn among more than 150 applicants from across the country.
The city has received a grant to fund the position for the first year. The county will cover the second year, and after that cost will be split 60 percent by the county and 40 percent by the city.
In her current job, Horn worked on a project to help six Kansas cities work with their utilities and figure out ways to reduce energy use.
“Championing the success is a critical part of this effort,” Horn said.
Weinaug said will be paid $62,500 a year.