John Lorfils is using his roots to build a future

As a lifelong resident of North Miami, John Lorfils recognizes the value in giving back to the community.

For the past 12 years he has been the economic development and strategic initiatives director for the city. In this role, he has helped support businesses that strengthen the local economy.

“My ideal goal is to have people in the community be as financially sustainable as possible in whatever their endeavors are, including students who may not be considering college as an option,” he said.

Lorfils’ background fuels his commitment to see the community succeed. He says he looks up to his parents, who migrated to the United States from Haiti in 1979.

Growing up, Lorfils – who comes from a family of five sisters and two brothers – participated in the Police Athletic League of North Miami in sports like track and football. He attended the College of the Sequoias in California and played for the school’s Giants football team, then moved back to Miami and attended Florida International University.

Before taking on his current professional role, Lorfils held several management and supervisory positions in areas including sanitation, contract compliance and budget analysis. He’s also a real estate specialist with Green Street Realty.

“As a Haitian American myself, it’s great to be able to provide support to people who look like me,” he said. “I was raised by a family that sacrificed to come here for a better quality of life for me.”

Lorfils’ goal to support the Black community is further accomplished by the NoMi Tech Program, where he plays an integral role. The initiative provides support to minority startup companies that are in the tech space or interested in technology-driven startups. It launched in 2023, giving companies the ability to pitch their ideas to receive funding. Winners have been awarded up to $500,000.

“We want to open our doors to minority businesses that may currently be doing business in other places,” he said. “If people are interested in coming to Miami-Dade County, we want them to look at North Miami as a possible destination. We consider our small businesses to be the backbone of the community.”

Outside of his career responsibilities, Lorfils volunteers with Communities In Schools of Miami, a nonprofit that mentors students at schools such as North Miami Middle about perseverance, work ethic and success in the business sector. Lorfils’ selflessness helps the community prosper.

“I firmly believe that it is not just a need, but a requirement,” he said. “It is a way of paying it forward.”

Lorfils feels there should be more programs to engage youth in activities that set them up for success later in life.

“I wish that some of these resources or people were in my corner or were available to me to give me an activity to be a part of,” he said.

Lorfils has found a way to use his heritage and past experiences to provide creative outlets that can propel his beloved community forward.

“To be in the position right now to be able to give back to the community that gave to me,” he said. “I feel like it is a responsibility we all have.”