Remembering Mike Levy: A Champion of Environmental Sustainability

Mike Levy, CLE, a trailblazer in environmental engineering and life cycle assessment, passed away on February 25, 2024, leaving an indelible mark on the field. His illustrious career spanned government, industry, consulting, and trade associations. As a Market Area Director of Sustainability and Climate Change at First Environment, Mike led life cycle assessment (LCA) peer reviews, contributed to international discussions on the circular economy, and provided invaluable sustainability counsel to our clients. In 2021 he received the prestigious Rita Schenck Lifetime Individual LCA Leadership Award from the American Center for Life Cycle Assessment (ACLCA), a testament to his enduring impact on the field. Mike’s legacy extends beyond accolades; he mentored future leaders and championed environmental education. His visionary leadership and passion for sustainability will continue to inspire generations.

Mike Levy’s educational journey laid the foundation for his remarkable career. He earned a Master’s in civil and environmental engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in 1972, following his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, also from RPI, in 1969. Furthering his expertise, he pursued coursework toward an MBA in Personnel Administration at Fairleigh Dickinson University from 1977 to 1978.

Mike’s career spans diverse environmental engineering roles in the chemical industry, including more than two decades at the American Chemistry Council (ACC), where he served as a life cycle expert leading advocacy efforts at state, local, and federal levels. His spirit of service was a common theme throughout his career; upon adopting his consulting role at First Environment, Mike participated in The Incubation Network’s Plastics Database Challenge and Future of Flexibles Challenge, serving as a mentor for several innovation projects and start-ups aimed at reducing marine plastic pollution throughout Asia.

With more than 40 years of professional experience, Mike held certifications and registrations that showcased his commitment to excellence. He was among the first Certified Lifecycle Executives certified by ACLCA and has served as a contributing author for multiple industry texts, including the recently published The Power of Life Cycle Assessment: Data Driven Decision Making for Environmental Sustainability.

In addition to his professional achievements, Mike held prominent positions in professional organizations. He served as the Vice-Chair, Secretary, and Executive Committee member for the ACLCA Board of Directors since 2022. Mike’s dedication was evident in his long-standing role as co-chair of the Board of Directors and Policy Committee for ACLCA from 2001 to 2022. He also contributed his expertise to the Board of Directors of Corporate Environmental Strategy for the Journal of Environmental Leadership. As a member of the Advisory Board for Thompson Publishing’s Environmental Packaging – U.S. Guide to Green Packaging and Recycling, Mike played a pivotal role in shaping industry standards.

Mike Levy’s commitment to advancing life cycle and circular economy activities was internationally recognized. He contributed to the development of international standards and was an active leader in the International Organization for Standardization’s (ISO’s) LCA standards development process. Notably, Mike was part of the original U.S. delegation in the late 1990s for the ISO LCA standards. His contributions were honored with the Outstanding Individual Service Award by ACLCA in 2012. Most recently, Mike served as co-chair of the U.S. delegation engaged in the development of the ISO Circular Economy group of standards, which involves over 80 countries. He shared his knowledge and insight through many industry presentations, publications, and social media posts, never missing an opportunity to educate others.

Mike’s departure leaves an indelible void that will be profoundly felt by all who had the privilege of crossing paths with him. Beyond his professional accolades, Mike’s legacy as a charismatic and caring force for environmental sustainability is etched into the very fabric of our memories.

Colleagues fondly remember Mike as someone who infused every moment with a profound sense of purpose. His unwavering commitment to making the world a more sustainable place was not just a job for him, it was a calling that he embraced with passion and dedication. In addition to his tireless dedication, Mike’s eternal optimism and sense of humor were like a beacon, illuminating even the darkest corners of our professional lives. His ability to bring levity to any situation and infuse gatherings with warmth created an atmosphere where collaboration flourished. Mike’s presence was more than just impactful, it was transformative.

As we reflect on the impact of Mike’s life and work, it becomes evident that he was not merely a colleague but a true champion in every sense of the word. His loss is deeply felt, but his legacy will endure as a testament to the profound impact one individual can have on both the professional landscape and the world at large.

B. Tod Delaney, PhD, PE, BCEE


See all articles

Dr. Delaney is President of First Environment and has more than 40 years of experience providing a wide variety of environmental services, including site investigations; remedial design; environmental management systems; strategic planning; industrial audits; air pollution control; and the development of new control and treatment technologies for water, wastewater, and hazardous waste. His professional experience includes the design, development, and management of programs for investigation and control of contaminants in the air, water, and soil. Through his work in these fields, he has developed and executed extensive field data collection programs, remedial strategies for regulatory compliance, and preliminary and final designs of chosen control options. Cleanup efforts have included soil removal, building decontamination, and groundwater pumping and treatment. Over the course of his career, he has worked for and consulted to hundreds of clients; taught graduate and undergraduate college courses in chemical and environmental engineering; and authored dozens of reports, presentations, and publications. As president of First Environment since 1987, Dr. Delaney provides strategic oversight on the firm’s site investigation, litigation support, greenhouse gas management, renewable fuels, and climate change adaptation projects. In addition, Dr. Delaney has maintained active involvement in the international discussions of standards regarding greenhouse gas verification, life cycle analysis, carbon footprinting, and environmental management.