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Staff

EXECUTIVE


thumbs_chriscollinsChristopher Collins, Executive Director

Chris Collins has helmed Solar One since 2004. A graduate of Holy Cross College and Albany Law School, Chris previously worked for 20 years as a litigator in both New York and California, specializing in complex commercial litigation, environmental litigation, civil rights, securities, elder abuse and many other areas of the law. After leaving the law in 1999, Chris worked as a Director at Oracle Corp. and as a Director of Risk Management at Sapient. Born and raised in the NYC area, Chris moved to San Francisco in 1988 and returned to New York to take the position of Executive Director at Solar One. He has had a long history of working with non-profit organizations, including being one of the founders of New York City’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Community Services Center and the Callan-Lourde Health Clinic. He served as Co-chair of the LGBT Center between 1985 and 1989. He was also a member of the Board of Directors of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force between 1991 and 1996 and served as Board Co-chair between 1994 and 1996.

thumbs_esthersiskindEsther Siskind, Director of Programs

Esther Siskind has fostered the growth of Solar One’s innovative initiatives since joining Solar One in 2011. Esther came to Solar One from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection where she managed a wide range of water, wastewater, and stormwater projects. She was a lead developer of New York City’s Green Infrastructure Plan that proposes green infrastructure and water conservation as integral components of a comprehensive strategy to address combined sewer overflows and defer large grey infrastructure investments. With a Masters Degree in Urban Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Esther has worked for over 25 years as an environmental planner and brings a wide range of policy, project management, and technical skills to her job.  She has also worked as a community organizer and co-founded a kids club that focused on learning about environmental issues and taking action to address them. Esther was born and raised in New York City and worked here for most of her career, bringing an in-depth knowledge of how to be effective and produce results in the City’s complex landscape.


K–12 EDUCATION


thumbs_head-shots-024Sarah Pidgeon, Director, K-12 Education

Sarah Pidgeon joined Solar One in 2009 and saw the growth of Green Design Lab from a small scale pilot to its current reach of over 600 schools. Sarah is passionate about inspiring NYC students to bring sustainability into their schools and communities. Prior to joining Solar One, Sarah worked as an educator for several years at the Center for the Urban Environment in Brooklyn, where she taught classes in Urban Design and Ecology. However, her real passion for environmental education began during her childhood spent as a camper and staff member at Frost Valley YMCA in the Catskill Mountains, where she was first exposed to sustainable practices like composting food waste. When she is not busy teaching about all things sustainable, Sarah enjoys riding her bike, cooking, and drawing.

Karen Alsen, Assistant Director for Curriculum and Instruction

Sarah Lorya, K-12 Outreach Manager

Geovani Caldero, Environmental Educator

Sarah Cooley, Environmental Educator

Amy Colorado, Environmental Educator

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WORKFORCE


Max Levitzke, Director, Green Workforce

Max Levitzke joined Solar One in 2017 and leads the Green Workforce training program. He has had a passion for renewable energy since he was teenager and has done various work and research related to climate change, electric vehicles and the shift from fossil fuels to cleaner resources. Max studied Environmental Science and Business at the University of Missouri and graduated in 2013, with a move from the Midwest to the NYC shortly after. Before joining the Solar One team, Max worked in program management and operations at a renewable energy education start-up. He’s found great fulfillment in turning his excitement for renewables into a career that continues pushing for the growth of the clean energy industry through education, as well as providing those at need with sustainable job opportunities. In his free time, Max enjoys playing ice hockey, guitar and fine-tuning his cooking skills.

James Kinyanjui, Instructor

Gary Smith, Instructor

Joshua Vedder, Instructor

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COMMUNICATIONS & EVENTS



Dina Elkan,
Director, Communications, Park & Events

Dina Elkan has managed a myriad of arts, events and communications programs since joining Solar One in 2007, after an eclectic career in arts administration, music and theater performance, web and graphic design, and event and arts production. Born and raised in downtown Manhattan, she graduated from the High School of Performing Arts with a degree in music performance and attended Barnard College. After leaving the hallowed halls of higher education, she re-immersed herself in the downtown art scene, working with groups such as Bad Neighbors, Protean Forms Collective, ABC No Rio, Gargoyle Mechanique Lab, the Bowery Poetry Club and Magbana Drum & Dance. As a member of King Missile III, she performed in venues throughout NYC, the US and Europe, releasing six albums over a period of ten years. She is also an avid crafter, crocheter, sewer and maker, often using recycled or organic materials.


STUYVESANT COVE PARK


liza.450Liza Mindemann, Park Manager

Liza joined Solar One in the spring of 2015 and took over as the manager of Stuyvesant Cove Park in the spring of 2016 bringing fifteen years experience in the field in a variety of capacities including garden design, installation and management. Growing up in New Hampshire, the majority of her childhood was spent outdoors learning through exploration and adventure, the habits of the natural world. This instilled a life-long connection and love of the earth that eventually led her to pursue a career in horticulture. Her favorite thing about gardening is that it touches on many elements, including the aesthetic, creative and conceptual coupled with the physical, scientific and practical. It is Liza’s vision to draw from elements of her own childhood so that students of all ages can have hands-on experience with nature in this urban environment where such opportunities are not as readily accessible. Current projects at Stuy Cove include turning part of the park into an interactive outdoor classroom where visitors can explore, experiment and interact with the native plants of the park to develop their own connections to the natural world.

Ceasar Nash, Park Maintenance

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NEW YORK CITY RETROFIT ACCELERATOR


Jennifer Silkowitz, Senior Outreach Coordinator

Evelyn Ellis, Outreach Coordinator


NYSERDA CLEAN ENERGY COMMUNITIES PROGRAM


Lindsey Hirsch, NYC Clean Energy Communities Coordinator


HERE COMES SOLAR


Noah Ginsburg, Director, Here Comes Solar

Noah joined Solar One in 2016, where he directs the Here Comes Solar program that seeks to spur the adoption of solar within NYC’s under-served market segments. From 2009-2011 Noah was a Solar Ombudsman at the City University of New York, working with the City to identify and address barriers to solar in NYC. In 2011 Noah moved to California to work as data analyst and technologist with leading solar startups including Sungevity, Sunrun and most recently OnGrid. While in California Noah volunteered as a Team Leader on more than 40 solar installations with GRID Alternatives, a non-profit solar installer that serves low-income homeowners, and earned his NABCEP PV installation certification in 2014. Noah is passionate about clean energy and the equitable distribution of its benefits within our society. Originally from Michigan, Noah moved to NYC in 2006 to complete a year of Americorps service, working as a mentor and tutor at a middle school in East Harlem. He completed his undergraduate degree in Renewable Energy at Hunter College and currently lives with his family in Washington Heights.

Angelica Ramdhari, Resilient Solar Program Manager

Juan Parra, Community Solar Program Manager

Anika Wistar-Jones, Affordable Solar Program Manager

Derek Nelson, Resilient Solar Associate

Cherno Sow, Solar Program Associate

Mike Weiss, Site Analyst

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OPERATIONS & ADMINISTRATION


thumbs_helen-panels_72-1_0Helen Hooke, Director, Fiscal and Operations

Helen Hooke has been responsible for the behind-the-scenes- smooth functioning of Solar One since 2009. Helen brings 20 years of experience to Solar One from her work as Director of Finance and Administration of the Law Firm of Hollyer Brady Barrett & Hines LLP and Secretary and Director of the Winfield Foundation.  She has a BA from Smith College, and Certification as a Non-Profit Accounting Professional from the Financial Management Association.  She also has a Certificate in PV Installation from Solar Energy International, and designed and built her solar-powered home.  She is originally from Rochester, NY, and studied at the Eastman School of Music Preparatory School.  She also writes, performs, and records in the field of music with her original group The Deadly Nightshade, as a side musician on violin, and with her own band, the Helen Hooke Band, and has her musical work released on many recordings and CD’s.  She is an avid gardener.

Nancy Weber, Operations Manager

Lena Zeng, Fiscal Assistant/Bookkeeper

Roberto Rodriguez, IT Technician


DEVELOPMENT


Trupti Doshi, Grant Writer

Deana Hare, Grant Writer

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