In addition to his work in the field of entrepreneurship, Ortmans also serves as president of the Public Forum Institute where he has more than 20 years experience in engaging citizens, experts, community leaders, and elected officials in substantive discussions.

The Public Forum Institute

The Public Forum Institute is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization committed to developing the most advanced and effective means of fostering public discourse. The Forum tailors projects that advance the exchange of information and ideas by combining issue expertise with advanced program development and communications skills.

A vigorous discussion of important issues enlightens those President Washington entrusted with our democracy – the citizens of the United States and its leaders. More than 300 members of Congress have served as chairs of impartial forums that help to increase public awareness of issues facing decision makers. The forums provide opportunities for communities to engage in substantive debate on issues that impact the social and economic well-being of all Americans.

The Forum encourages Americans of all backgrounds to learn more about the issues facing them today and to share their opinions with the leaders of their community and their country.

What makes the Forum unique is that it takes no position on the issues. While other organizations talk about their nonpartisanship, the Forum aggressively practices it.

Furthermore, in addition to traditional means of engaging citizens in the policy-making process, the Forum utilizes innovative methods to foster citizen engagement. For example, through the use of the wireless eFORUM audience response system, participants are able to respond to questions with the touch of a button. Results are compiled immediately and anonymously – ensuring that everyone’s voice is heard equally.

The Forum has also pioneered the use of satellite technology in the field of citizen engagement by developing multi-site two-way citizen teleconferences. In addition to engaging the American public, the Forum also encourages elected officials to engage face-to-face with the public. At its Annual Congressional Dinner, the Forum recognizes those members of Congress who have invested their time and energy to the Forum’s mission of civic engagement.
By offering unfiltered access to all sides of an issue, and through partnerships with foundations, print and broadcast media, policymakers, opinion leaders and corporate philanthropy, the Public Forum Institute serves local communities across the nation, contributing to a more informed public.