Highly-regarded Falls Church City Councilman Dan Sze died Monday night after a battle with esophageal cancer.
He last attended a Council meeting on July 13, when he exited the meeting early. It was first publicly announced that he was battling cancer by Mayor David Tarter at the July 20 City Council meeting when he was absent.
Falls Church City Manager Wyatt Shields issued a statement in a letter to City staff today that read as follows:
“I am sorry to share with you that City Council Member Daniel “Dan” X. Sze died last night, after a battle with cancer. All those who worked with him will miss his keen intelligence, his hearty greetings, and the jovial conversations they shared with Dan.
“Mr. Sze was a strong leader for environmental stewardship in his service on the City Council and on regional and statewide policy boards. He led the City policy that all new or renovated City facilities must achieve LEED standards, and he strongly supported the new high school design for net zero carbon emissions.
“He encouraged City staff to push the envelope in all areas relating to sustainability – including moving the City fleet to bio fuels, installing LED streetlights, and purchasing renewable electricity. He was well known for pushing private developers on green roofs, stormwater detention, and higher LEED standards in new buildings in the City. With wit and good humor (and occasional irascibility) he tirelessly advocated for the City and region to use new technologies to improve the environment and people’s lives.
“In his honor, the City will lower the City flag outside City Hall to half-staff for seven days. The City Council will also pause for a minute of silence at the August 10 meeting to recognize Mr. Sze’s passing.
“On behalf of the City Council, we mourn his passing and send his wife, Elisabeth and family our deepest condolences. Wyatt Shields, Falls Church City Manager.”
Sze’s first position in the City government was as Vice Chair of the Economic Development Authority from 2002 through 2006. He was then elected to City Council from 2006 to 2010.
In 2013 he was appointed to the Board of Zoning Appeals, then elected and rejoined City Council in 2014. He most recently served as the City Council Liaison to the Environmental Sustainability Council and the Urban Forestry Commission, and was chair of the Council’s Appointments Committee.
He served as a City of Falls Church Council representative on a number of regional boards and commissions, including as Chair of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) Chesapeake Bay and Water Resources Policy Committee, as a member of the MWCOG Climate, Energy, and Environment Policy Committee, as Chair of the Virginia Municipal League’s State Committee on Environmental Quality, and as an alternate for the Northern Virginia Regional Commission.
Sze had an accomplished career that included federal government service.
He was responsible for major policy and regulatory initiatives under six American presidents.
At his last assignment, Sze was with the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as Deputy Director of State Energy Programs.
After leaving full-time employment, Sze regularly lectured on sustainability strategies, worked on clean energy initiatives, was involved with several international start-ups and was a consultant to businesses, organizations and government.