Christopher 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.
Esther Siskind, Director of Programs
Esther Siskind has fostered the growth of Solar One’s innovative initiatives since joining Solar One three years ago. 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.
Sarah Pidgeon, Director, NYC K-12 Education Program
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 300 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.
Alex Smith, Assistant Director for Sustainability
Karen Alsen, Educator
Max Levitzke, Director of Green Workforce
Max Levitzke joined Solar One in 2017 and leads the Green Workforce program management and operations. 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 leading 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 called CleanEdison, which has since been acquired and rebranded as Ecotech Training. 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, Lab Site Coordinator / Instructor
Gary Smith, Whole Buildings Coordinator/Instructor
Joshua Vedder, Workforce Training Instructor
COMMUNICATIONS & EVENTS
Dina Elkan, Director, Communications & 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 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.
Chris Fowler, Park Maintenance
NEW YORK CITY RETROFIT ACCELERATOR
Jennifer Silkowitz, Senior Outreach Coordinator
Evelyn Ellis, Outreach Coordinator
HERE COMES SOLAR
Noah Ginsburg, Director, Here Comes Solar
Angelica Ramdhari, Program Manager, Here Comes Solar
Anika Wistar-Jones, Affordable Solar Program Manager
Mike Weiss, Site Analyst
Noah Ginsburg, Multifamily Program Manager, Here Comes Solar
OPERATIONS & ADMINISTRATION
Helen Hooke, Director of Administration 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, Bookkeeper
Roberto Rodriguez, IT Technician
Trupti Doshi, Grant Writer
Deana Hare, Grant Writer