Management & Operations

D.C. rail project chief tapped to lead Long Island Rail Road

Posted on April 30, 2014

New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced the appointment of Patrick A. Nowakowski as the next president of MTA Long Island Rail Road.

Nowakowski is a career railroad professional with broad experience in operations, engineering, infrastructure and planning. For the past five years he has served as executive director of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project, which is building a 23-mile rail line to connect with the Washington, D.C. Metro system.

He previously served more than 27 years with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), including seven years as Assistant GM of Operations.

Nowakowski began his career in 1975 at the freight railroad that would become Conrail, designing track layouts as a civil engineer. He joined SEPTA in 1981 as a senior civil engineer, where he developed a five-year capital plan for its rails and roadbed, and advanced through a series of positions with increasing responsibilities for delivering service, maintaining equipment and managing infrastructure.

Nowakowski earned a bachelor's degree in engineering from the University of Delaware and a master's in business administration from Drexel University. He still holds a professional engineer license from Pennsylvania.

“In the coming years, the LIRR must successfully complete the Double Track project along the Ronkonkoma Branch, harden its infrastructure against the threat of future storms, and prepare for East Side Access to revolutionize service," MTA Chairman/CEO Thomas F. Prendergast said. "Pat’s strong background in railroad operations will serve the LIRR well, and I trust Pat to enhance the railroad's operational excellence and emphasize safety and reliability as it confronts new challenges in the coming years.”

Nowakowski replaces Helena Williams, who served as LIRR president for almost seven years, making her the railroad’s longest-serving president in decades. A lawyer with deep experience in government and transportation, Williams had previously served 13 years in other MTA positions, including five years as president of MTA Long Island Bus.

At the LIRR, Williams improved the railroad's customer communications, oversaw major capital improvements along branches and at terminals, and planned for new service growth while shrinking costs. She was the first woman to serve as the president of an MTA agency, the first woman to run the LIRR, and the first woman to run the MTA when she served as the agency’s Interim Executive Director and CEO in 2009.

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