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Mayor de Blasio, Buildings Department Announce Members of Crane Safety Technical Working Group

February 24, 2016

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio and Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler today announced the members of a technical working group that will review and recommend new City policies to improve crane safety. Over the next 90 days, members will evaluate the circumstances surrounding the deadly crane collapse earlier this month and propose additional best practices and regulations to make cranes operating in New York City the safest in the world. The technical working group will consult closely with stakeholders across the construction industry and workforce as it crafts recommendations.

The members of the technical working group are Mary C. Boyce, Dean of Engineering at The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science at Columbia University; Katepalli R. Sreenivasan, President of NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering and Dean of Engineering at New York University; Peter J. Madonia, Chief Operating Officer of the Rockefeller Foundation; Bill Goldstein, who most recently served as Senior Advisor to the Mayor for Recovery, Resiliency, and Infrastructure; and Wayne A. Crew, General Secretary of the National Academy of Construction.

“We put the safety of our people first. This is a group of dedicated professionals that will ensure we have strong, science-based policies in place to protect New Yorkers as we continue to build the greatest city in the world,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“I thank the technical working group members for contributing their time and expertise to help make our construction sites safer for workers and the public,” said Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler. “We are determined to improve the safety both of cranes and the neighborhoods in which they work by implementing lessons learned from the collapse earlier this month.”

The technical working group members have decades of experience in engineering, government, and construction, but have no pending business before the City – ensuring an independent review of critical crane-safety policies. Prior to releasing their recommendations, the group will consult with members of DOB’s existing Crane Rules Advisory Committee, which reviews updates to the city’s rules and regulations on cranes and includes representatives from the city’s construction industry. Its first assignment will be to examine whether current wind restrictions on crawler cranes – the type of crane involved in the recent collapse – reflect the best science.

Following the crane collapse, the City implemented several additional directives regarding crawler cranes:

New Restrictions on Crawler Cranes: Until further notice, all crawler cranes are required to cease operation and go into safety mode whenever steady winds are forecast to exceed 20mph or gusts to exceed 30mph. Through rulemaking, DOB is raising the base penalty for failure to safeguard cranes from $4,800 to $10,000.

More Sidewalk Protection for Pedestrians: FDNY and DOB have increased enforcement of sidewalk and street closures related to crane activity, including the requirement that pedestrian traffic managers are present when large cranes operated in areas with significant pedestrian traffic. In addition, DOB is conducting inspections and issuing violations to crane firms, operators and other personnel if flaggers are not appropriately restricting pedestrian and vehicular traffic.

Improved Notification for Surrounding Residents and Businesses: Prior to moving a crane, operators are required to notify those who live or work in the area. Previously, crane operators were required to notify residents and businesses only when the crane is first installed.

Members of the Crane Technical Working Group:

Mary C. Boyce is Dean of Engineering at The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science at Columbia University in the City of New York and the Morris A. and Alma Schapiro Professor of Engineering. Dean Boyce leads the education and research mission of Columbia Engineering with more than 175 faculty, 1500 undergraduate students, 2500 graduate students, and 100 postdoctoral fellows. She is committed to facilitating and celebrating the creativity and innovation of students and faculty. Dean Boyce earned her BS degree in engineering science and mechanics from Virginia Tech, and her MS and PhD degrees in mechanical engineering from MIT.

Katepalli Sreenivasan is President of NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering and Dean of Engineering at New York University, where he also serves as Executive Vice Provost in charge of science and technology. Prior to coming to NYU, he served from 2003 to 2009 as the director of the International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy, for nearly seven years. Earlier, he taught at the University of Maryland for about a year and a half, as Distinguished University Professor, Glenn L. Martin Professor of Engineering and Professor of Physics, and as the Director of the Institute for Physical Science and Technology. Prior to that, Sreenivasan taught at Yale since 1979 as a faculty member, first in the department of engineering and applied science and subsequently in several other capacities. He has been a visiting professor at Caltech, Rockefeller University, Cambridge University, and the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, among others.

Peter J. Madonia is Chief Operating Officer of the Rockefeller Foundation, overseeing human and financial resources, information technology, facilities and office services, records management and library services. Prior to joining the Rockefeller Foundation, Mr. Madonia served as chief of staff to Former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. Mr. Madonia’s previous experience in New York City government included serving as first deputy commissioner of the Fire Department, deputy commissioner for budget and operations at the Department of Buildings, and chief of staff to the deputy mayor for operations. Mr. Madonia received a bachelor’s degree from Fordham University, where he has taught urban studies as an adjunct professor. He also has a master’s degree in Urban Studies from the University of Chicago.

Bill Goldstein was most recently the Senior Advisor to the Mayor for Recovery, Resiliency and Infrastructure.  He retired from City Service in January 2016. Bill previously served as Executive Vice President at the MTA Capital Construction Company. He was also the President and CEO of the New York City School Construction Authority. Bill has also served as Director of Capital Program Management at the MTA and Deputy Executive Director for Capital Programs for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.  He previously held senior management positions at two major New York City consulting firms, Parsons Brinkerhoff and URS. Bill has a B.S. in Economics from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree in City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania. 

Wayne A. Crew is the General Secretary of the National Academy of Construction (NAC).  Prior to NAC he served as Director of the Construction Industry Institute (CII) for nine years. He joined CII in 2004 as the Associate Director of Research. Before CII, he served as vice president of construction for Technip USA Corporation in Houston, Texas. Crew spent 23 years at KBR and its predecessor companies, Kellogg Brown & Root and Brown & Root. He retired from KBR as vice president and business segment leader for industrial services. Crew serves on the national and local Boards of Directors for the ACE Mentor program, and has served on the Board of Trustees for the National Center for Construction Education and Research, and the Board of Directors for FIATECH.  He is a graduate of engineering school at Michigan State University and holds an MBA from the University of Houston Executive Program.

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