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Professional Women in Construction Holds Transportation Forum in NYC

Each speaker stressed a firm commitment to increasing the participation of women in the industry.

Tue August 11, 2015 - Northeast Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

William Fife, principal, The Fife Group and senior advisor, Weidlinger Associates, the moderator of Professional Women in Construction’s (PWC) Transportation Forums for the past 20 years, set the tone for the annual regional update held the morning of July 15th at the Yale Club in N.Y. City, saying, “It is critical to learn of investments being made in transportation and hear that we’re getting the right kind of percentages for WMBE participation.”

Each speaker stressed a firm commitment to increasing MWBE participation. Several noted that Gov. Cuomo has raised the goal from 20 to 30 percent for NYS, and said that their agency would meet or exceed the objective.

Sonia Pichardo, regional director, NYSDOT, discussed the NYC region’s upcoming construction program, which will be approximately $600 million per year for the next two fiscal years. NYSDOT will be advancing a range of projects, both within the region and across the state, that will offer opportunities for MWBEs, from bridge rehabilitation to highway paving.

Dana Hecht, executive regional manager, Team B, project management, NJDOT, spoke of a robust capital program with almost 100 projects/contracts in FY15 and forecasted for FY16. Four large multi-contract projects spanning into 2020 and totaling more than $2B include the Manahawkin major bridge rehab and Pulaski Skyway.

An internal WIT (Women in Transportation) program focuses on “mentoring, training for successful upward mobility and professional growth….” A trainee/apprenticeship program run through the civil rights unit is targeted to help women, minorities and disadvantaged individuals acquire construction skilled crafts through NJDOT funded construction projects.

Diversity, said Hecht, “and the varied experiences and perspectives that it brings… result in the most successful projects and programs.”

Michael G. Massiah, chief, capital planning, execution & asset management, PANYNJ, acknowledged “women’s considerable contributions to construction” historically in the region and spoke of the PANYNJ’s 10 year $27B capital program as “a living plan that adapts to realities.”

Calling the PANYNJ a composition of several line departments each with its own operating and capital conditions, he discussed TransHudson improvements on the Goethals, Bayonne and GW Bridges; over $3B investment in the PATH system; work at LaGuardia and Newark Airports; the Port Department’s intermodal improvements; and the WTC site construction.

The PANYNJ aims “to improve the transportation system that connects the Continental U.S. with NYC and the world,” said Massiah.

Speaking of the “five year $6.3 B capital program” Rosa Rijos, assistant commissioner, Roadway Capital Program management, NYCDOT, outlined transportation infrastructure improvements addressing “safety; state of good repair; mobility; livability; resiliency; equity and economic growth.”

The city’s capital roadway reconstruction program, which she leads, includes Mayor de Blasio’s $300M Great Street Program for the “design and construction of four major arterials and boulevards”: Atlantic Avenue and 4th Avenue in Brooklyn; Grand Concourse in the Bronx; and Queens Boulevard in Queens.

She stressed D/MWBE participation and that the NYCDOT will help gain dual certification.

Eve Michel, chief architect and V. P. of planning, design & development, MTA Capital Construction, spoke of 40 projects set through May 2016 and budgeted at over $1B which will generate $4.5B in economic activity. The MTA’s Small Business Mentoring Program and Small Business Federal Program aim to form “long term quality relationships …and stimulate growth.”

Current MWBE opportunities include Grand Central Caverns; MetroNorth drainage improvements in the Bronx; and storm resiliency for the LIRR and NYC Transit. MTA megaprojects include the award-winning Fulton Center linking the NYC subway and the NJ PATH; the 7 Line Extension; the Second Avenue Subway, the first major subway expansion in over 50 years; and East Side Access, the largest infrastructure in the United States.

“The health and prosperity of our economy depends on a safe, reliable transit system that will continue to grow and adapt along with our region,” said Michel.

Event sponsors were: HAKS; Parsons; A. Esteban & Company.

For more information, call 212/486-7745 or visit

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