Collin O’Mara serves as Secretary of the Environment and Energy for Delaware Governor Jack Markell. In this role, he serves as the chief steward of Delaware’s natural resources and leads the state’s efforts to improve air quality and public health, ensure access to clean water, remediate contaminated sites, reduce impacts from flooding and extreme weather events, expand recreational opportunities, and restore wildlife and fishery habitat. He also leads the State’s strategy to secure cleaner, cheaper, and more reliable sources of energy.
When Governor Markell appointed Secretary O’Mara in 2009, he was the youngest state cabinet official in the nation. Since joining the administration, he has worked to modernize Delaware’s energy sector by facilitating new low-emission generation, clean energy projects, and energy efficiency initiatives; cleaning up the most polluting legacy units in the state; facilitating fuel switching to cleaner sources of energy; and overseeing installation of cutting-edge pollution controls at power plants and industrial facilities.
He has also spearheaded a range of innovative initiatives, including Delaware’s “No Child Left Inside”/ Children In Nature campaign, a comprehensive strategy to confront childhood obesity by reintroducing children to the outdoors; the First State Trails and Pathways Plan, a multi-year initiative to expand and connect the state’s trail system and place Delaware among most bike and pedestrian friendly states in the nation; and the Delaware Bayshore Initiative, an effort to establish the region as a world-class conservation and low-impact recreation tourism destination for hunting, birding, fishing, hiking, canoeing, and kayaking, as part of the President’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative.
In addition, Secretary O’Mara has led the largest investment in environmental infrastructure in the state’s history, including more than $200 million in wastewater and storm water systems, beach restoration, dam and dike repair, drainage projects, and park and wildlife area upgrades – all projects intended to prepare Delaware for current and emerging environmental and climate challenges. He managed the effort to modernize and restructure DNREC, the first significant reorganization of the agency since 1972, to make the agency more effective at implementing strategic priorities and more efficient in carrying out its mission at a time of limited resources.
Legislatively, Secretary O’Mara advanced the Energy Conservation and Efficiency Act and the Clean Energy Jobs Act – a legislative package which established statewide goals reducing per capita electrical and natural gas consumption by 15 percent and 10 percent, respectively by 2015, strengthened the state’s renewable portfolio standard, expanded renewable rights, enhanced net-metering, modernized renewable energy incentives, enabled vehicle-to-grid technology, and strengthened building codes for energy efficiency. He led the successful campaign for the Governor’s landmark universal recycling legislation, which, for the first time, requires trash haulers to provide curbside recycling pickup to every household and business statewide.
Secretary O’Mara serves on numerous boards including as former Chair of the Ozone Transport Commission, Chair of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, Vice Chair of the Air Committee of the Environmental Council of the States, Executive Council of the Chesapeake Bay Program, the Sustainable Energy Utility Oversight Board, State Water Supply Coordinating Council, the Delaware Cancer Consortium, Open Space Council, Nutrient Management Commission, the Center for the Inland Bays, and the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary.
Prior to joining Governor Markell, Secretary O’Mara served as the Clean Tech Strategist for the City of San Jose, and was the primary architect of the city of San Jose’s Green Vision, built upon the belief that environmental sustainability and smart economic development are inextricably linked and entirely compatible. He helped San Jose attract more than 50 clean technology companies, which created more than 3,000 new jobs and generated nearly $2 billion in new investment. Previously, Secretary O’Mara led a division of Syracuse city government where he was responsible for overseeing the modernization of city services and leading the cutting-edge accountability and efficiency program as Director of SyraStat.
A native of Syracuse, NewYork, Secretary O’Mara was a Marshall Scholar at the University of Oxford, a University Fellow at the Maxwell School of citizenship and Public Affairs, and a Presidential Scholar at Dartmouth. He is a Catto Fellow at the Aspen Institute, a U.S. Green Building Council LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) accredited professional, and completed Stanford Business School’s Executive Management Program in Environmental Sustainability.
He and his wife Lindsay live in Wilmington with their baby daughter Riley Elizabeth.