People To Know:

Debra Dremann Ushkowitz, Land Advisors Organization

Debra Dremann Ushkowitz loves living in Orlando. She met her husband, Eric, here. She had their son Tanner, now 7, here.

And with her new job at Land Advisors Organization, she’ll be doing what she loves – focusing on strategic land acquisitions for master-plan community developers and commercial developers, which is what much of her 25-year career has been about.

And it all may be thanks, in part, to a fortune cookie!

Ushkowitz, had been working for Newland Communities in her native Denver when she was offered a promotion to head up an office and all the projects that were already in place. Exciting! But it would necessitate a move to the Sunshine State. She was very tempted. But not quite certain.

She met her mom out for dinner and they discussed, as moms and daughters so often do.

“I kept saying, ‘I want to go, but should I? Should I do it?’ And at the end of dinner, the brought me my fortune cookie and it said, ‘Yes. Do it with confidence.’”

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Central Florida has been quite a fun ride for the sports-loving Ushkowitz, who was an avid lacrosse player in college and a triathlete. Though she’s always happy to head back to the Colorado peaks for skiing and hiking – she calls the mountains “her happy place” – year-round sunshine has afforded her an abundance of active options outside.

Mostly, though, it’s son Tanner who’s working up a sweat.

“We are a sports-loving family,” she says, “and so he’s trying what feels like every sport known to man right now… . He’s playing baseball and soccer, he loves to ice skate – but we can’t send him to play hockey yet. He just started basketball and he loves it. He’s trying it all.”

And much to mom’s delight, Tanner’s current obsession is lacrosse.

“It’s an opportunity to really engage with him and work with his friends, so I’m helping his team learn the game of lacrosse as the assistant coach, which I absolutely love…. I’m right there, hands-on with the kids. It’s a blast.”

Thought she’s no longer training for triathlons, Ushkowitz has managed to combine her love of sports with another love: photography. “It began with wildlife, but when I had my son, he rapidly became the major focus,” she laughs. Ushkowitz is the team’s unofficial photographer.

In her limited spare time, photo editing is a popular activity.

“I love sharing the photos with my family and friends. It’s really cool because you can create these team websites and class websites to do it….”

At one time she considered going pro, but realized that turning photography into a job would likely cut into her enjoyment of the art, of capturing the moments.

“[Photography is] probably one of my biggest passions, as it has really allowed me to use the more creative sides of my personality. It brings me a lot of joy.”

A.D. Thompson
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