Sarah Orlando named 2022 Raymond A. Schindler Excellence in Community Development Extension Award Recipient

Jan. 23, 2023

On December 7, during the OSU Extension Annual Conference awards ceremony, Sarah Orlando was presented the Raymond A. Schindler Excellence in Community Development Extension Award. Since joining Ohio State University Extension, Ohio Sea Grant as a Program Manager in Cleveland in 2011, she has truly demonstrated a record of excellence in creative and scholarly work, teaching, and service to community and profession.

The annual award seeks to recognize:

  • long term strengths in teaching and research
  • a long-standing record of teamwork and collaboration in program planning, implementation and evaluation
  • a successful track record in grant awards, cost recovery, or other external funding

Sarah Award

Sarah Orlando

Ray and Sarah

Clean Marina

Sarah Orlando started with Ohio Sea Grant in 2011, she has led the expansion of the Clean Marinas program and the development of related courses well beyond expectations. She is innovative in how she collaborates with partners, how she blends her expertise with new opportunities, and in the tools developed. She is equally adept at teaching, research, and service and great at threading them all together. Sea Grant is unique in Community Development due to its own strategic plan and focus areas, but her work fits well with Community Development areas of emphasis, particularly economic development, organizational capacity building, and community planning. The priority areas of workforce development, engaged Ohioans, vibrant communities, and environmental quality are fundamental to her work. She certainly helps communities enhance their wellbeing and creates social, economic, and environmental conditions in which they can thrive.

Regarding teaching and research, her programs run from “K to gray,” reaching people from a variety of age ranges and backgrounds. From teaching kids, the importance of wearing lifejackets, to helping boaters prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, to serving as a liaison between regulatory agencies and small business owners, her programming typically reaches thousands of people per year. Her colleagues often receive unsolicited positive remarks from attendees about her programs. Her most recent research involves Green Infrastructure practices, particularly in marinas, and has the potential to improve environmental conditions and help marinas increase business. 

Regarding accomplishments beyond her assigned work location is that she drove the Clean Marinas Program, which used to be limited to the Lake Erie watershed, to such success that her partners requested to make it statewide. They also agreed to hire additional employees to their organization for her to manage this program.           

Everything about her work is built on teamwork and partnerships. Her Extension position is a partnership that she must maintain between the ODNR Office of Coastal Management (OCM) and the Ohio Sea Grant, two vastly different entities. She manages her own team while being a part of both the Ohio Sea Grant team and the OCM team and working with ODNR Parks and Watercraft team which employs her staff. Her Clean Marinas Program builds partnerships with marinas, which are small businesses. She is a skilled relationship builder and collaborates equally well with people from a variety of backgrounds and opinions and is great at finding common ground and paths forward. Recent projects and collaborators in addition to those previously discussed include Business Retention and Expansion for marinas, Clean Boating Education, Aquatic Invasive Species Landing Blitz, Lorain County Environmental Day, Boat Wash Wastewater Regulations, Clean Vessel Act Grant, Laurel School Capstone Project, and Ohio Marina Conference.

The Raymond A. Schindler Excellence in Community Development Extension Award is named in honor of Raymond A. Schindler, one of the first Extension CD professionals in Ohio. Hired in 1962 as an Area Extension Agent, Ray began his career in southern Ohio, based in Highland County. He took a collaborative approach to his work, focusing on tourism development, comprehensive planning, planning commissions, and business retention and expansion programs until his retirement in 1988.