Noah Valenstein, Esq.
Presidential Fellow in Water Policy at The Water School at Florida Gulf Coast University
Founding Partner, Brightwater Strategies, LLC
Session: Keynote Speaker for Annual Awards Luncheon
Noah Valenstein is a founding partner in the consulting firm Brightwater Strategies, LLC, where he provides strategic guidance, lobbying, and external affairs services to both the non-profit and private sectors. Noah’s years of service in high profile public positions, as well as serving clients in the private sector, provide him with a unique perspective to assist clients in Florida. His work with national environmental associations, strong Washington D.C. relationships, and past leadership positions on the United States Coral Reef Task Force, the United States Everglades Task Force, and the Environmental Council of the States, allow him to advise national and international clients as well.
Prior to rejoining Brightwater Strategies, Noah served as both the Secretary for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the state’s Chief Resilience Officer. Appointed in 2017, Noah was the first DEP secretary to serve two consecutive governors. He was unanimously confirmed by Florida’s bipartisan Cabinet, illustrating the respect he has earned from both sides of the aisle. During his tenure as secretary of DEP, Noah worked to champion and advocate for water quality improvements, Everglades and springs restoration, coastal resiliency and conservation of Florida’s prized properties. With Governor DeSantis’ leadership, Noah aided efforts to secure record funding from the Florida Legislature for Everglades restoration and protection of water resources as part of the largest environmental budget in the state’s history. He also worked to ensure the unanimous support and passage of the Clean Waterways Act.
As only the second Chief Resilience Officer in Florida’s history, Noah led the creation of the Office of Resilience and Coastal Protection at DEP, the development of the agency’s resilience grant program, and assisted with securing record funding for climate change and resilience initiatives in Florida. Prior to his service as Secretary, Noah cultivated more than 15 years of public service experience, beginning by working closely with both the Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate. Later, working in the Executive Office of the Governor, Noah was responsible for building successful platforms for multiple environmental initiatives. He then served as executive director of the Suwannee River Water Management District, where he oversaw the protection and conservation of water and land resources
across 15 counties. During Noah’s time serving the state’s legislative and executive branches, he aided former Speaker of the House Marco Rubio and former Governor Rick Scott, both of whom are now sitting U.S. senators.
Noah graduated from the Florida State University College of Law, and received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida’s School of Natural Resources and Environment, where he graduated with honors. He currently resides in Tallahassee with his wife, Jennifer, daughter, Ava and two black labs, Ella and Hobo.