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.
Fronsy Thurman, Assistant Director for Instruction
Alex Smith, Assistant Director for Sustainability
Karen Alsen, Educator
James Kinyanjui, Lab Site Coordinator / Instructor
Josh Vedder, Instructor
Gary Smith, Whole Buildings Coordinator/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
Chris Fowler, Park Maintenance
Rachel Eve Stein, Program Manager
Rachel Stein manages NYSERDA EDGE’s Downstate Territory since 2014. She began her career working in the US House of Representatives, UK Parliament, the NY State Assembly, and on behalf of the NY State Public Service Commission. She created an independently designed major at Boston University, earning her BA in Social Movements and the Democratic Process, and writing her thesis on grassroots political campaigns. When not at Solar One, Rachel Eve Stein is a passionate social activist, a serial light switcher-offer, and at home in Gowanus, Brooklyn keeping vampire voltage at bay and watching Meet the Press.
Samuel Man, NYSERDA EDGE Staten Island Regional Outreach Coordinator
Leslie Davis, NYSERDA EDGE Bronx Regional Outreach Coordinator
Christopher Neidl, Director, Here Comes Solar
Chris Neidl, a founding staff member of Solar One, rejoined the organization in 2014 to head its innovative community solar initiative, Here Comes Solar. Chris has led a diverse, high impact career in the solar and renewable energy space for over a decade, working as a residential solar installer in Northern California; a solar educator and policy advocate in New York City, and as an off-grid energy project manager and advisor in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Most recently, Chris spent three years based in India serving as the country program manager for Arc Finance, a not-for-profit organization that makes modern energy affordable and available in rural communities worldwide by fostering linkages between the microfinance and off-grid energy sectors. Prior to joining Arc in 2010, Chris served as the Advocacy and Outreach Coordinator for Solar One. Chris has also served as an adviser on solar energy-related policy matters for members of the U.S. House of Representatives, the New York State legislature, and the New York City Council. Chris earned his BA in Urban Geography and Planning from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, and his MA in public policy from New York University.
Elana Laichena, Program Manager, Here Comes Solar
Matthew Myshkin, Senior Technical Advisor
Angelica Ramdhari, Site Analyst
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.
Marisa Buxbaum, Administrative Assistant
Linda Lagomarsino, Administrative Assistant
Ellen Fung, Fiscal Assistant/Bookkeeper
Roberto Rodriguez, IT Technician
Trupti Doshi, Grant Writer
Deana Hare, Grant Writer
James Ryan, External Affairs Associate
Danielle Serigano, Development Consultant