Steve Susman is retiring as executive director of the Westcott Community Center after 12 highly successful years.
Photo by Neil Benjamin Jr..
continued The way Susman — who’s married with two children — told the Dylan story basically sums up his personality: he’s a laid-back guy rife with ideas who tends not to over-think anything, and is confident in what he does and the decisions he makes. He’ll tell you that, and so will the people close to him.
His early career
Consider his Italy excursion the culmination of what Susman and his co-workers say are 12 highly successful years as executive director of the Westcott Community Center, a place where people of any income level can go and seek help, shelter, a meal — you name it, the Westcott can find a way to help you with it.
Susman is 67 and is finally setting sail off into retirement after a marathon career that began in New York City. Born in the Bronx and raised in Queens, Susman soon moved to Manhattan to as a film editor, a job he held through the mid-’70s. He obtained his degree in film and photography from what is now called Excelsior College, all while enjoying the psychedelia and rock and roll of the time: Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, the Mamas and the Papas, etc., are just some of his favorites.
In 1974, Susman moved to Syracuse with a group of cohorts — he was already familiar with the area due to numerous visits here to see friends who attended local colleges. Though Syracuse is a city, don’t tell that to Susman.
“I felt like moving here [from NYC] was like moving to the country,” he said. “There’s clean air here, no traffic and no crime when you compare it to New York City.”
He held multiple jobs here at Arc, a place that assists people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, before earning a job at Hutchings Psychiatric Center, where his title was workshop specialist. He stayed there for nearly seven years.