About

The New York State Sustainable Business Council (NYSSBC) is an alliance of businesses and business organizations committed to advancing a vibrant, just, and sustainable economy in New York State. We are a growing alliance representing over 1,600 businesses united around this shared vision.

Through NYSSBC, New York State business leaders connect around issues critical to their businesses. NYSSBC offers its members educational opportunities on key state and federal policy and the ability to engage and provide direction on our campaigns. Please visit our Priority Issues page to learn more about our recent advocacy efforts.

NYSSBC also provides a venue for coordinators of business networks across the state to connect with their peers and help each other build stronger networks.

Leadership Team

Truth be told, the ongoing activities as well as the long term evolution of this organization has been driven by countless business leaders from across the state. We are grateful and indebted to everyone for the critical role they play in NYSSBC.  Below is our shortlist of leaders who participate in an ongoing capacity at least monthly.   Please contact us to learn more about how to get involved.

    Bob Rossi
    Director

    Bob is passionate about building community and supporting entrepreneurship rooted in social justice and environmental sustainability. Bob has been involved in several business startups in software, manufacturing, and green building. Most Recently, Bob founded the CommonSpot, a coworking space and social enterprise incubator in Ithaca, NY.  Bob has also helped launch nonprofits including the Green Resource Hub, which promotes sustainable lifestyle and supports green business.  Bob served as Director for the Sustainable Enterprise & Entrepreneur Network, a “triple bottom line” business community in the Ithaca area.

        Hilary Baum
        Project Coordinator

        Hilary Baum is a producer of coalition-building educational programs and public awareness campaigns focusing on food, farming, and sustainability. A pioneer in the regional food movement, she co-founded Chefs for the Marcellus, a coalition of food professionals and business owners concerned about fracking, and directed Food Systems Network NYC and The Public Market Collaborative. Her background includes artisan food production, marketing, restaurant procurement, farmers’ market operations, and community supported agriculture. She contributed to the New York City Council’s report, FoodWorks, and is co-author of Public Markets and Community Revitalization and The Lifespice Cookbook. Hilary graduated from Cornell University.

            Ajax Greene
            Chair of Steering Committee

            Ajax is a serial social entrepreneur, a triple bottom line and localist evangelist, a trusted generalist business advisor and a master connector. Ajax co-founded ReThink Local, On Belay Business Advisors, and most recently Coherence Collaborative. Ajax has turned his abundant creativity, talent and positive energy to building organizations and communities that expresses a deep commitment to being conscious of the triple bottom line of people, planet and prosperity. As a former world-class rock climber and adventure athlete he understands commitment, drive and vision.

                Chris Burger
                Treasurer of Steering Committee

                Chris is the president/owner of Horizon Enterprises, a 26-year-old resource management company engaged in computer programming. He has degrees in Chemical Engineering, Social Psychology, Public Administration, and Economics. He currently chairs the Binghamton Regional Sustainability Coalition (BRSC). A former County Legislator, he has also chaired numerous boards including: Southern Tier East Regional Planning and Development Board, the Broome County Energy Commission, the Broome County Soil and Water Board, and Cornell University’s Eco-Justice Project. He also serves on the Center for Civic Engagement, NY State Council of Churches Public Policy Committee, Environmental Management Council, and National Sierra Club’s Committee on Zero Waste.

                    April De Simone
                    Member of Steering Committee

                    April has over 15 years of experience in strategically designing, developing and launching for-profit, non-profit and government projects. She is a co-founder and partner of Designing the We, a for-benefit design studio positioned within the fields of social innovation and community driven social, cultural and economic development. Continuing to advocate for social innovation, April is co-creator of various for-purpose ventures and initiatives that promote market based solutions to address complex social challenges. A Dean Merit Scholar, she recently completed her Master of Science in Design and Urban Ecologies from Parsons the New School for Design. April continues to be recognized for her leadership and dedication in supporting frameworks that promote a just and equitable society.

                        Braden Crooks
                        Member of Steering Committee

                        Braden is a gardener turned landscape architect who entered into the fray of community organizing and advocacy. He is a co-founder and partner of Designing the We, a for-benefit design studio positioned within the fields of social innovation and community driven social, cultural and economic development. He founded Groundswell PA: an organization that passed the first popular vote to ban fracking using an Environmental Bill of Rights. Braden earned his Master of Science with departmental honors from Parsons in New York, where he hones his praxis developing forms of horizontal organizing within solidarity economies. Braden has recently worked with organizations such as the Center for Urban Pedagogy and the Right to the City Alliance, and in his spare time produces a web series about New York.

                            Jan Rhodes Norman
                            Member of Steering Committee

                            A serial entrepreneur and mother of six, Jan started her first business, Silk Oak, in 1977. Now 30 years later, Silk Oak continues to produce brightly colored,hand silkscreened clothes for men, women, and children. Meanwhile, Jan has founded several other business, most recently Ithacamade — a gift shop that serves as a hub for bringing locally made goods to the Ithaca community and visitors. Jan is a cofounder of Local First Ithaca, a network of locally owned businesses & services, farmers, non-profits and community members.

                                Jorge Martinez
                                Member of Steering Committee

                                Jorge Martinez, Deputy Mayor, Freeport Long Island, coordinator of the Long Island Sustainable Business Council, and business owner of J & A Group a commercial maintenance company. He is Director of the Board of Directors of Bethpage Federal Credit Union, Director of the Board of Directors of Vision Long Island, and past President / Director of the Long Island Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.