Ken Levenson, Executive Director

Ken graduated from Pratt Institute with a Bachelor of Architecture. After practicing architecture for 20 years in New York City, and in a climate panic, he discovered Passive House in 2009. He then became a Certified Passive House Designer and started designing Passive House buildings. To increase impact, in 2010 Ken became a founding board member of New York Passive House, the National Passive House Alliance, and in 2011, NAPHN, an organization that would become The Passive House Network – all nonprofits dedicated to popularizing Passive House through education. Working on projects Ken realized there was a gap in the American market of critical high performance Passive House building products and the practical knowledge needed for their correct use, so in 2011 Ken closed his architecture firm, and co-founded the company 475 High Performance Building Supply with a mission to supply essential materials, building components, and knowledge to help drive industry change. Ken has served on advisory panels for Urban Green’s 90 by 50 policy report and the Framework Guidelines for Energy Efficiency Standards in Buildings of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. Then in 2019, in a growing panic, Ken stepped down from the boards of PHN and NYPH and the management of 475 and volunteered with Extinction Rebellion, planning and participating in direct action civil disobedience protests to demand governments declare a climate emergency.

While his daughters thought his getting arrested was the only cool thing he ever did, his journalist wife suggested that he get a job, and so in 2020 Ken returned to PHN as its first Executive Director, focused on Passive House capacity building across the US.

When not thinking about Passive House or hanging out with his wife and daughters, Ken can often be found walking their Newfoundland dog in Prospect Park.

email: [email protected]

Sharon Gaber, Managing Director

Sharon oversees and manages the education and certification training programs of PHN, develops new course offerings and builds strategic partner alliances. She has been committed to energy efficiency and green building protocols for over 18 years. Starting out in the art & design industry Sharon recognized early on the need to reduce building waste and create more energy-efficient systems. As a LEED AP and BPI certified, she has helped many clients in the museum and design world create more efficient and healthier spaces. She currently serves as the Development Chair for the Environmental Climate Network at the American Alliance of Museums and volunteers her time educating those in the museum/art world. Sharon holds a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from Syracuse University and a Master of Arts in Museum Studies, Decorative Art from the Fashion Institute of Technology.

email: [email protected]

Kyle Smither-Semon, Education Associate

Kyle manages logistics of all our training courses. Kyle has a Bachelor of Environmental Design in Architecture from North Carolina State University and an Master of Environmental Policy and Management from the University of Denver. Spending his undergraduate career studying architecture before moving into environmental policy has allowed Kyle to immerse himself in building science, data visualization, energy efficiency, and climate science. His unique career path has allowed him to do everything from leading a joint digital fundraising campaign between an international non-profit and a widely-recognized university to working with a local town to redesign an abandoned work prison into a community center and garden, to developing articles, handouts, and infographics geared toward nature-based solutions and climate resiliency.

email: [email protected]

Jill Williams, Community Manager

Jill comes to us with over 20 years of Communications and Outreach experience and seven years working specifically in the Green Building community. Jill is native of the Pacific Northwest but spent 10 years in the mid-Atlantic region before landing back in Washington State. Jill has a BA in Communications and has been running her own Marketing and Design Firm since 2015, which balances event planning, community outreach, and marketing for nonprofits. Jill also just finished her first year as an Adjunct Professor teaching Graphic Design at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA. Jill is the mother of four adult children and one sweet senior pup. In her spare time, Jill rows crew competitively at the Masters level and loves to Mountain Bike and surf!

email: [email protected]