General Manager

Polar Bear Sustainable Energy
Highland Park, Michigan

Background: Polar Bear Sustainable Energy (PBSE) is a cooperative based in Highland Park, Michigan, serving members in Detroit, Highland Park and Hamtramck. Our primary mission is helping members become more energy efficient and energy independent through home efficiency retrofits, and electrification projects. PBSE currently has a dedicated board, a small but active membership, and a part time board administrator. We are now looking to hire our first full-time employee. This is a big job that will require energy and dedication. The general manager needs to be flexible and motivated by the mission of the organization.


PBSE was incubated by Soulardarity to be a vehicle for equitable access to holistic energy services, and our founding members are committed to advancing racial and economic equity in the energy system. PBSE conducted extensive feasibility work which identified that residential energy efficiency was the most viable initial program for the cooperative, and secured funding for this position and an initial pilot program. PBSE aims to be a source for holistic energy services, and board members have identified community solar and rooftop solar bulk purchasing as key points of program development. The general manager will lead the cooperative through forming its initial programs, pursuit of the resources and partnerships needed to support aggressive scaling and expansion, and development of a culture of deep member solidarity.


Salary: $75,000+ with annual COLA increases


Benefits: PBSE is not yet in a position to have established a benefits program. When PBSE reaches a sustainable scale we hope to establish a benefits program for all employees.


Relocation expenses: fair relocation expenses will be paid if the successful job candidate will be relocating from outside the Detroit Metro area. 



Organizational Management & Development

The general manager will be responsible for helping to further develop Polar Bear Sustainable Energy Co-op through the following types administrative and business development work:

  • Fundraising
  • Grant writing and reporting
  • Relationship building
  • Forecasting and pursuing state and federal funding opportunities
  • Membership Recruitment  
  • Consistent member communications
  • Onboarding new members
  • Annual review and renewal of member agreements
  • Raising member equity to develop programs and projects
  • Board Governance
  • Developing programs to manifest the vision of the board
  • Leading transition from solely volunteer leadership to utilizing paid staff
  • Regular reporting to the board of directors and membership
  • Financial Management
  • Develop budgets for programs and projects
  • Propose annual budgets to the board 
  • Manage cash flow
  • Program Development
  • Creating and financing new programs based on member interest and conditions in membership communities
  • Integrating partners, collaborations, or sponsors that provide opportunities for expansion of member services
  • Develop and manage database to use in reporting and tracking impacts


Project Oversight

The general manager will oversee a contracted project manager performing a four-home pilot program of energy efficiency retrofits, electrification, and residential solar installations. Handle escalations from homeowners who have concerns or complaints about the project management.



This will be a fast-paced job requiring a high degree of motivation on the part the general manager, however the manager will not be alone in their efforts, and will have the following resources at their disposal:

  • A committed and highly skilled board of directors with backgrounds in non-profit and co-op administration, grant writing, energy efficiency implementation, residential construction and data analysis.
  • Contractor handling board administration and bookkeeping
  • Feasibility study of intended business activities
  • Prior grant applications and funder relationships
  • Networks of practice including:
  • Peoples’ Solar Energy Fund
  • National Community Solar Partnership
  • Midwest Building Decarbonization Coalition
  • Equitable Beneficial Electrification Fund Collaboratory
  • Loan loss reserve of $75,000 held with Clean Energy Credit Union through partnership with Soulardarity available for member borrowing



  • Flexibility
  • Good writer and communicator
  • Ability to communicate with people from all backgrounds


Preferred Experience:

  • Background in scaling a business or other entrepreneurial activity
  • Working with the board of directors of a cooperative
  • Community Development work in Detroit, Highland Park and/or Hamtramck or similarly impacted frontline communities
Deadline to Apply: 
April 12, 2023