Days after the end of his term, former North Brooklyn councilmember Stephen Levin has announced that he’s starting a new gig as Chief Operating Officer at the Manhattan-based sustainability nonprofit Solar One next week.
A former nonprofit employee and state Assembly staffer, Levin was elected to the Council in 2009 and spent 12 years representing District 33 at City Hall, where he chaired the Committee on General Welfare and sat on the committees for Environmental Protection and Land Use. He became a vocal advocate for homeless New Yorkers, standing up for the construction of new shelters in the district and introducing legislation to ease restrictions for homeless youth seeking rental assistance.
Levin and his neighboring representative, now-Comptroller Brad Lander, were instrumental in negotiating the enormous Gowanus rezoning, securing the city’s word that the project will not increase Combined Sewer Overflow and additional funding for badly-needed storm sewers and storm studies in the flood-prone neighborhood.
Citywide, the Greenpoint resident co-sponsored the groundbreaking Climate Mobilization Act and the recently passed ban on gas hookups in new construction. Levin was term-limited and his successor, Lincoln Restler, stepped into his recently-vacated Council seat on January 1.
“Stephen’s passion for the environment, leadership experience, and deep commitment working to improve communities makes him an excellent choice to lead Solar One,” said Sara Queen, chair of the board at Solar One, in a release. “His time with the New York City Council uniquely qualifies him with great understanding of the imperatives of building more resilient communities and will guide him to utilize the many initiatives and programs of our organization to do so.”
Solar One was founded in 2004 to manage Stuyvesant Cove Park, near Peter Cooper Village, and still runs the tiny ecosystem. But the company has grown significantly since then, launching their education program, “Green Design Lab,” a workforce development program that trains job-seekers in sustainable construction, and Here Comes Solar, which seeks to bring solar panels to more homes in the city.
“I am thrilled to be joining the amazingly talented Solar One team,” Levin said, in a release. “In order to confront the existential challenges of climate change, we must do our part in New York City to move to a sustainable future right here, and Solar One has been at the forefront of this movement for years.”
The company’s previous CEO, Christopher Collins, had been in the position since the company’s inception, and retired last month. Levin is taking the helm as the company plans to open a new environmental education center at Stuyvesant Cove alongside new offices and a workforce development facility.
“Across all these program areas, Solar One is a leader in building a sustainable New York City for future generations, and I salute Chris Collins for his years of service in building and leading this wonderful organization,” Levin said. “The future at Solar One is bright and I am so excited to join this effort.”