Bruce J. Oreck currently serves as the United States Ambassador to Finland. In that capacity, he has driven the initiation of a complete renovation of the Embassy in Helsinki with a focus on high performance and “sustainability”. For example, later this year Embassy Helsinki will open its Innovation Center – a 100 year old building on target for LEED Platinum EB Certification. The Innovation Center is also slated to be the first U.S. Embassy building to exclusively utilize both interior and exterior LED lighting. And the entire Embassy compound will be the first in the world to utilize both district heating and district cooling (over 90% efficient).
Ambassador Oreck also serves as the Chair of the League of Green Embassies. The League is a global network of over 90 diplomatic missions pursuing a common agenda for energy efficiency, renewable energy and water conservation. Member embassies aspire to introduce innovative solutions, influence individuals and institutions in host countries and to play an important role in mobilizing public action. The League of Green Embassies also acts as a platform for America business to promote their high performance energy products, services and skills in foreign markets around the globe. (www.leagueofgreenembassies.org)
Ambassador Oreck obtained his Bachelor of Arts from The Johns Hopkins University, his Juris Doctorate from Louisiana State University and his Masters of Law (Taxation) from New York University. Mr. Oreck practiced law for over 25 years representing many of the largest companies in the United States. In addition to his private legal practice, Ambassador Oreck served as General Counsel and Executive Vice President for his privately held family business, the Oreck Corporation, until the sale of that business in 2003.He is the author of several books on taxation and has had a successful career as a speaker and lecturer in both Europe and the United States –addressing topics ranging from the process of creative thinking to the New Relationship with Energy for the 21st Century.
In his capacity as a real estate developer, Ambassador Oreck worked for many years restoring and redeveloping historic properties. This work caused him and his wife to become more and more engaged in “high performance” building. In 2003, Ambassador and Mrs. Oreck founded the Zero Carbon Initiative which is committed to teaching, informing and implementing both experimental and off-the-shelf energy efficiency and alternative energy technologies in the built environment.
Ambassador Oreck was a founding member of the Board of Trustees for The Grand Canyon Trust and remains very active in environmental matters. He has also been active in historic preservation, and by mayoral appointment, served for a number of years as the Chairman of the Historic Districts Landmarks Commission in New Orleans. Ambassador Oreck previously served as a member of the Board of Trustees for the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and was also a member of the Board of Trustees of Adams State College (serving the higher education interests of rural Colorado). Ambassador Oreck served as a member of the Colorado Climate Action Panel (a project of the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization). He was a member of the Leadership Council of the University of Colorado’s Energy Initiative whose mission is to play a leading role in addressing the pressing need for innovative solutions to the challenge of renewable and sustainable energy.
Ambassador Oreck has had a lifelong passion for nature and the wilderness. An avid hiker from his youth, Mr. Oreck has camped all over America, throughout Europe and parts of East Africa. A boxer in his high school years, Ambassador Oreck later was a member of his college’s championship fencing team. Mr. Oreck also worked as a boatman rowing wooden dories down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon for nearly ten years. When his children were young he was a committed runner and then later became a successful body builder. (Ambassador Oreck won the Colorado State men’s masters body building championship several years in a row.)
A mineral collector since he was a boy, Ambassador Oreck has assembled one of the leading collections of fine minerals in the United States and he and his wife are major donors of mineral specimens to museums throughout America.