I was born and raised in Red Hook, Brooklyn – in the days when kids still played outside: stickball, stoop ball, skelsies, ring-a-leevio – and just general ‘hanging out’. Fond memories, indeed.
My family moved to Gravesend when I was about 12. A lot of years spent in schoolyards – not only playing game but organizing whole leagues – just us kids; no adults, thank you very much.
I went to Brooklyn Tech High School – it was always ‘in the cards’ that I was going to be an Engineer. From there – on to Columbia University Engineering School. A wonderful opportunity – as I received an outstanding liberal arts education and underwent a rigorous technical program. I worked during summers as an electricians helper with Local #3 which also provided a partial scholarship for me. With the summer wages and the scholarship, I graduated with ZERO debt – sorry to say that is not the case with far too many students today. Why? Are we any less prosperous as a nation now? No, we are NOT..
Went to the first Earth Day, 1969 +/-, and decided the environment field was for me.
Went to the University of Illinois Environmental Engineering program on a full traineeship – so no debt here either – how lucky I was to grow up in the America of that time. At Illinois, downstate in Champaign-Urbana, farm country, a ‘boy from New York City’ was not exactly common. But I it was all good.
My first engineering job was in Chicago.
When I returned to New York, and breezed through my rather independent 20’s, at 30+, I married my wife Dorothy; we moved to Silver Lake in 1983. After our son Steven was born it was on to New Dorp where we have lived since 1993.
My work life spanned 40 years. With NYC DEP [inspector, process engineer, administrative project manager, instructor], and consulting engineers [design, construction management, testing/start-up/training] and also equipment suppliers [experimental pilot testing / operations]. At various times, I worked as an individual proprietor [writing technical documents]. Noit to be overlooked were several rewarding years as an adjunct Math professor at DeVry University. It’s rather a diverse background – but it suited me fine as I was always essentially driven by a desire to know. The more aspects of work, the better as far as I was concerned.
At one job interview, late in my career, I was asked, “Can’t you hold a job?”, to which I answered, without missing a beat, “I don’t hold ’em, I do them.” We then got on with what he wanted me to do – and he proceeded to offer me the job.
My long and deep experience and strong education, gives me a solid foundation of technical skills and a well-honed systems-thinking approach to problems- and a keen ability at troubleshooting. Working in such a wide range of positions, at so many different locations with so many people has also made clear to me the absolute necessity of communication – if you want to make progress and deal with problems.
Most of my career was spent in the NYC area mainly in wastewater treatment; and I am always proud to point out that the waters around the city are spectacularly cleaner than only a few decades ago. Fishing and swimming are now possible again – and the return of wildlife, even whales, is quite amazing.
This career that I was lucky enough to have has given me a great faith in people to accomplish great things through their government. There was the political will in the late 60’s and 70’s to restore the water and air quality throughout the US – and “we” did it. It gives me the optimism to believe that no less is possible now – in dealing with today’s “never-ending” problems on Staten Island, most notably: over-development and dismal public transportation – both of which – lead to the horrendous commutes and ever worsening traffic.
I look forward to bringing a practical / engineering, i.e., a “can-do”, approach to the City Council to confront these big challenges. I truly believe that technically feasible solutions are possible– we ‘just’ need the political will to start. As my campaign literature says, “Communication is the key to Progress”. Isn’t that the truth? On the job I had many chances to meet with folks ‘at odds’ and try to keep them on the same page – hopefully avoiding lawsuits, fines, etc..
Since retirement I have continually sought out conversations with people of all views and backgrounds.The range of people I talk with covers the entire political spectrum on Staten Island. Among my friends I am known for this.
And that would continue to be my style as your Councilman. I will go out of my way to involve constituents, civic associations,active groups, the Community Board, etc. in issues that affect us all – from immediate concerns to long-term planning.