Lee Stein brings many years of extraordinary experience as a business executive and entrepreneur to his current activities as a business-minded environmentalist.
Educated as an accountant (B.S., Syracuse) and an attorney (J.D., Villanova), he has served as Chairman of the Board, CEO, and President of First Virtual Holdings, Director and President of Seaport Village on the waterfront in San Diego, Director and Controller of WestAir Airlines (DBA) United Express, and as an officer and/or director in various private entities.
Ater a career of serial entrepreneurship, he turned his entrepreneurial and business activities to the environment. He had based his operating strategies on the concept of “inclusivity” and wanted to help move forward an agenda acknowledging that environmental practices had to be good for business or they were not good environmental practices and, likewise, that business practices had to be good for the environment in order to be good business practices.
In 2001, Stein was invited to co-found the Southern California chapter of Environmental Entrepreneurs, known as E2. Affiliated with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), E2 brings together entrepreneurs to influence state and national government policies by serving as the “business voice for the environment.”
In 2006, Mr. Stein formed Prize Capital to strengthen global competitions aimed at discovering innovative solutions in the areas of energy and the environment. The Prize Capital model focuses on the value that prize competitions can provide to the private sector as “deal generation search engines”, as well as the competitors’ need for access to capital during the prize competition process. The first application of the Prize Capital model will be focused on carbon capture and recycling (CCR) processes that can turn carbon emissions into an asset rather then remaining a liability, providing an industry-led solution to inform future regulation of CO2.
Prize Capital envisions using Venture Philanthropy to create sustainable financing that will value healthy ecosystem services and natural capital, and the benefits they provide, as an asset in both developed and developing nations. Current activities are focusing on a biodiverse region of Costa Rica that is at risk.
He has been active in Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and its CEO affiliate. He has served as a trustee of the Duke Law School Board of Visitors and of the University of California Scripps Institute of Oceanography.
Mr. Stein is married to his wife June (for 34 years) and they have 3 children.