Patrick Nowakowski Starts First Day as President of MTA Long Island Rail Road
May 12th, 2014
There’s nothing like making an early train and getting right to work, especially if you are the new president of MTA Long Island Rail Road. And that is just what Patrick Nowakowski, the man now at the helm of the nation’s busiest commuter line, did on his first day on the job.
He arrived at Jamaica Station shortly after 7AM, accompanied by MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas Prendergast, himself a former president of the LIRR. From a perch atop the pedestrian bridge that connects the LIRR to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s AirTrain JFK, Nowakowski surveyed the massive operation where 10 of the LIRR’s 11 branches converge.
After a brief encounter with members of the media, the men headed inside the Railroad’s historic headquarters building at 93-02 Sutphin Blvd, its exterior just recently restored, where the new leader convened his first meeting with the LIRR senior staff.
Nowakowski, 60, is a career railroad professional with broad experience in operations, engineering, infrastructure and planning.
For the past five years he 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 General Manager 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.
“The Long Island Rail Road is a public transportation resource like no other, and I am deeply honored that Tom Prendergast has entrusted me to lead it,” Nowakowski said when his appointment was announced by Prendergast on April 28. “Long Island relies on the LIRR, and Tom has made clear that my job is to make sure the railroad lives up to high expectations every single day, while also planning its future growth to improve the service we provide to Long Islanders. It's a tall order, and I look forward to working with the LIRR's customers, employees and other stakeholders to ensure the railroad achieves its goals.”
The LIRR carried 83.4 million riders last year. The oldest American railroad still operating under its original name, the LIRR has more than 700 miles of track and 124 stations on 11 different branches stretching from Penn Station to Montauk, approximately 120 miles away.