ASA’s Executive Director Joseph Levy’s mission promoting sunburn prevention and responsible UV exposure has taken him across North America to 43 different state capitols, five Canadian provincial capitals, as well as national capitals Washington, D.C. and Ottawa, Ontario.
But after 30 years working with elected officials, Levy actually became one in 2020.
Levy serves as president of the Ken Caryl Metropolitan District Board of Directors in Colorado – working with other members of a five-member elected board who meet once monthly to forge local policy in a 12,000-resident community southwest of Denver in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.
After first winning election in 2020 and serving on the board from 2020-2023, Levy was re-elected to a second term this spring in a landslide victory, receiving more than twice as many votes as two challengers who ran for his seat. He has been board president since March 2022.
“So much of my professional life has involved problem-solving, diplomacy and being able to untangle and solve misunderstandings that are often deeply rooted,” Levy said. “It’s amazing how that skill set translates to being effective in the raw and often passionate environment of local politics.”
Levy took a seat on a board that, prior to 2019, had run deficits in ten of the previous 19 years and had been borrowing money to meet seasonal cash flow obligations. Today, the District has a $4 million fund balance and has been catching up on deferred maintenance and capital projects by organizing the work into a well-articulated ten-year plan.
“Ken Caryl is a community with some truly unique mountain and open space assets. This community is my home, and we were going down a path that threatened our home values,” Levy said. “We hired and have taken steps to retain a qualified manager who has worked with us to reverse that. In an area with new growth all around us, we’re setting up to remain a desirable community well into the next generation.”
If the arc of that story sounds familiar, it should.
“The issues I’m tackling at the local level truly run parallel to those I face for you in the professional suntanning community,” says Levy. “I always knew that this local service to my community would probably pay dividends to helping me be effective in my professional life. It really has. I like to believe it has heightened my understanding of effective problem solving.”
Levy’s work with ASA has involved working state issues in Colorado for a number of years. “In one session recently, I had the unique situation of working with a member of the Colorado legislature who actually was one of my local constituents. I was his constituent, and he was mine. That was a first.”
Levy says working as an elected official has helped him better appreciate effective ways of communicating professionally with public officials.
“I almost feel guilty that I think I will get more out of this than I put into it,” Levy said. “We are entitled to a per-diem; but from Day One, I donated mine back to the community. I didn’t get into this for any payout. And yet, here I am realizing how much this local public service has benefitted my ability to serve ASA professionally. Sometimes I feel like I should be paying them.”
To join ASA today, visit AmericanSuntanning.org/register.
Founded in 2012, the American Suntanning Association is committed to defending and growing the industry through a detailed and proactive plan directed by an all-salon board and executed by more than two dozen management and consulting team members who specialize in this type of work.
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