Trio awarded for transportation leadership

by Sarah Crichton, Newsday
April 30, 2012

Three women will jointly share this year's Long Island Contractors' Association leadership award. 

State Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald, Long Island Rail Road president Helena Williams and Long Island MacArthur Airport commissioner Teresa Rizzuto will be honored next month at the association's annual meeting. 

Executive director Marc Herbst said the contractors' association might be perceived as an organization that deals solely with roads but its members engage in construction relating to all modes of transportation. 

And transportation was the one sector, he said, that contractors see as continuing to provide work despite tough economic times, so the decision was taken to recognize a leader in each of the three modes -- road, rail and air. 

"It was only after the fact that we realized we are honoring all women," Herbst said. "In a fairly male-dominated transportation sector, that's kind of nice. These three not only shattered the glass ceiling, but they set the standard for future transportation leaders, regardless of gender." 

McDonald, he said, essentially doubled the state's capital program and investment for Long Island. Williams has helped advance and promote replacement of bridges and tunnels as well as construction of the second rail to Ronkonkoma. Rizzuto has presided over taxiway expansion at MacArthur and an internal airport roadway improvement, and shepherded the construction of a new fuel farm for aircraft that use the facility -- all infrastructure projects vital to the regional airport, Herbst said. 

Rizzuto also is to be honored May 8 in Carle Place by the Public Relations Professionals of Long Island for her work in elevating the MacArthur Airport brand.

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