Meet the team leading Forest Park Forever's efforts to restore and sustain this magnificent treasure.
Our Forest Park Forever team — from fundraisers to horticulturists to educators — is passionate about our mission and focused on Forest Park's past, present and future. With approximately 30 staff members located in the Visitor and Education Center and the Land Management office to the south, our team keeps a comprehensive daily eye on everything that's happening here — working in the present, but also planning well into the future.
Lesley Hoffarth has served as the President & Executive Director of Forest Park Forever since January 2010. Before joining Forest Park Forever, Hoffarth — a 20-year veteran of the Missouri Department of Transportation — led the $535 million New I-64 project to completion one month ahead of schedule, $11 million under budget and with a 95% public satisfaction rating.
In Hoffarth’s current role at Forest Park Forever, she is leading the organization through a transition of its mission; while it was initially focused on rebuilding this 1,300-acre park, the organization has expanded its mission to partner with the City to restore, sustain and maintain it forever. Hoffarth and her team successfully negotiated a first-in-the-nation innovative agreement with the City that forms a true partnership, secures funding for ongoing maintenance and builds the next phase of capital projects in Forest Park.
Hoffarth earned a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the University of Missouri at Columbia and is a Missouri registered professional engineer. She is an alumna of the CORO Women in Leadership Program and was recognized in 2008 as one of the CORO Leaders of the Year for St. Louis. She is also a distinguished member of the MU Academy of Civil Engineers and was recognized by the Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri as a 2009 Woman of Distinction. In 2014, she received the Woman of Influence Award from Webster University and the Trailblazer Award from the St. Louis Forum. In 2016, she was named as one of the St. Louis Business Journal's Most Influential Business Women.
Frank Kartmann leads Forest Park Forever’s Park Operations division, overseeing the organization’s Department of Land Management (horticulture, nature reserves) and Department of Planning & Projects (capital projects, hardscape maintenance),
Kartmann joined Forest Park Forever in spring 2016 after a 26-year career with Missouri American Water Company, including six years as its President. He was a founding member of the Metro Water Infrastructure Partnership (MWI Partnership), a regional water and wastewater infrastructure education organization based in the St. Louis metro area that has been cited as a national model by the Water Environment Federation. Kartmann's community awards include the World Bird Sanctuary’s Wildlife Conservation Award, Fete du Feather (2015), and the Missouri DNR Governor's Award for Environmental Excellence (2014). He is a registered professional engineer, licensed in the state of Missouri.
John O’Gorman leads the organization’s Development operations. Prior to joining FPF in January 2012, he was an executive with a national fundraising consultant firm. He served as counsel to civic, cultural, educational, healthcare and religious organizations in St. Louis and throughout the Midwest and East Coast. During his time with the firm, he managed transformational campaigns for his clients that raised more than $600 million.
O’Gorman is a native of St. Louis, but has lived throughout the U.S. He received his BS from Loyola University in New Orleans. O’Gorman is a member of the St. Louis Chapter of the Association for Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and has served on the AFP Programming board. He has presented at several industry conferences and events.
Tamara Sheffield leads the organization’s Finance and Operations functions. Prior to joining Forest Park Forever in April 2011, she had both financial and operational leadership roles spanning various sectors including biotechnology, retail and financial services. In this capacity, she has managed complex projects and organizational growth for multi-billion-dollar public and private international companies.
Sheffield is a native of St. Louis, but has traveled throughout her career. She received her BS from Saint Louis University. She is a certified public accountant and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM). Sheffield has served on several nonprofit Boards for arts and social organizations. In 2015, she was named a CFO of the Year by the St. Louis Business Journal, a ‘Challenger’ in the 2015 class of the Greater Missouri Leadership Challenge and the Non-Profit Executive of the Year by the St. Louis American Foundation.
In order to be the best stewards possible of the Park's 1,300 acres, Forest Park Forever has assembled a terrific team of trained, experienced and passionate horticulturists and gardeners who care for the grounds year-round.
While you've likely seen members of this team on your Park visits, we invite you to learn more about their experience and interests.