#BeLocal Member Profile: Angela Fisher
“My passion is protecting the planet and its magnificent biodiversity so my children and my children’s children and beyond can enjoy its beauty.”
I cannot think of a better way to encapsulate newly-appointed HC3 Board Member, Angela Fisher, than with this quote about her passion for protecting the planet. From working as a pioneer in the field of sustainable remediation with the Fortune 500 company, General Electric (GE), to starting her own purpose-driven strategic sustainability consulting firm in Breckenridge, Angela is a self-proclaimed “sustainability nerd.”
While I personally wouldn’t refer to her as a “nerd,” Angela does have a very unique knowledge base and set of professional skills that could be misunderstood by most people. For example, as a graduate student in Environmental Engineering at Penn State, her thesis focused on the subsurface bioremediation of heavy metals and radionuclides. That’s a mouthful at first glance, but in the simplest terms, bioremediation is a technology that uses living organisms to reduce, eliminate and contain hazardous waste. And while it may not sound sexy, the process is invaluable for reclaiming polluted soil and water around the globe.
Angela’s graduate degree in Environmental Engineering ultimately led to the world of pollution prevention and cleanup technologies, which in turn introduced Angela to the concept of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) – a method used to assess the overall environmental impact throughout a product or service’s life cycle by understanding the net environmental impact it makes, and how and where to make improvements. This robust, technical, systems-view was just what the doctor ordered for the budding engineer slash environmentalist as her passion for protecting the planet flourished.
“I have always been a passionate environmentalist, and as an (environmental) engineer, I am naturally a lifelong learner,” says Fisher when asked about her unique merger of engineering and environmental advocacy. “The fields of LCA and sustainability contain so much technical depth and science-based credibility. They employ a holistic view and help to identify and quantify more environmentally friendly choices.”
Angela spent her nearly 13-year professional career with GE developing successful product sustainability and LCA programs. As she became a leading expert in the field of LCA, she diligently integrated sustainability and LCA into GE’s business plan, and ultimately worked on one of the flagship projects performed on GE’s 2.5-megawatt onshore wind turbine. The next generation in turbine technology and efficiency, this turbine produces the highest annual energy yield in its class, creating more value for its customers. With this and a multitude of other innovative LCA projects as a solid foundation, Fisher advanced to directing the company’s circular economy program and crafted the company-wide eco-design strategy, working closely with Ecomagination on its eco-product portfolio and the company’s public-facing sustainability goals.
“I’ve had what I think is a pretty unique journey into sustainability and life cycle assessment,” Fisher reflects. “I began to apply it in the product space – everything from jet engines to wind turbines to LEDs to power generators to 3D printing to blood pressure cuffs. With every study completed, the practice of applying life cycle thinking became habit.”
But it wasn’t all work and no play for forward-thinking Fisher. After college she and her partner, Jason, adventured in Summit County for four years before moving away forprofessional endeavors. They always knew they wanted to live here, however, and 8 years later they moved to Breckenridge with their two energetic kids – Caiden and Sierra (now 17 and 11, respectively).
“We moved to upstate New York for my job, but always knew we would make our way back here,” she says with a smile. “Once we finally got to a place in our personal and professional lives that worked for our family, it was an easy decision to return! We absolutely love the natural beauty, the tight-knit community, and the fun-loving, adventurous lifestyle.” See, I told you she’s not a nerd.
The move to Summit County was a natural choice being the beautiful environmental outdoor playground that it is … one that needs to be actively preserved. Enter Aspire Sustainability, Angela’s purpose-driven strategic sustainability consulting firm. She advises companies on making greener products and improving corporate stewardship by integrating successful sustainability strategies. For example, Angela is currently working on a project with a well-known multinational technology company. The goal is to identify and communicate the life cycle environmental benefits of a new business model for their customers – everything from lower energy demands, more reliable products, less material use and waste, and much more.
While this specific project has more of a global focus, Angela hasn’t forgotten about Summit County. She points to forest health, water conservation, sustainable development, and climate change as critical issues moving forward. “It is such a popular tourist destination that we need to empower and inspire our short-term visitors to share in the responsibility of protecting this incredible place,” she remarks. “I am so thrilled with Summit County’s ability to be a leader in tackling so many of these challenges because of the active engagement and passion in the community.”
And actively engaged Angela is, joining the HC3 board in February, 2018. She brings with her a supreme passion for sustainability, conservation, and community and we are thrilled to have her expertise and experience to help us advance our efforts. She says it best when asked about her appointment to the board, “I really hope to be an active and enthusiastic advocate for HC3 and for this amazing community. If I can help to educate and energize our community tocollaborate on sustainability and the global challenges we face, I am sure we will all be happier, healthier, and more prosperous.”
Angela plans to stay in the Breckenridge area, continue to grow her business, and focus her efforts on applying life cycle perspectives to more sustainable companies, products and technologies. As environmental advocates, we couldn’t be happier.
“I truly believe that we are simply borrowing this planet and its resources from our children. It is our responsibility to tread lightly and leave it better than we inherited it,” she says. “So, I hope that my sustainability career allows me to inspire more companies and individuals to think holistically and work together to ensure a more sustainable future for many generations to come.”
In the meantime, we welcome Angela, Jason, Caiden and Sierra to the HC3 family and look forward to collaborating on bringing greater sustainability to our mountain community.