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Mayor de Blasio Appoints Jamie Torres-Springer as New York City's Design and Construction Commissioner

March 23, 2021

Torres-Springer to succeed Senior Advisor for Recovery Lorraine Grillo

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today appointed Jamie Torres-Springer as Commissioner of the Department of Design and Construction (DDC). Torres-Springer had previously been First Deputy Commissioner of the agency serving under Lorraine Grillo, who left the post earlier this month to become the City’s Senior Advisor for Recovery.

“The Department of Design and Construction has been an unsung hero throughout the COVID-19 pandemic – building safe facilities at a breakneck pace to help our city fight this disease in every community. Jamie Torres-Springer has been at the heart of that work, and he is the perfect leader to bring this agency into the next phase of our fight,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I look forward to working with him even more closely in helping this city’s physical infrastructure shape a recovery for all of us.”

"From helping transform and streamline capital projects across this city to working throughout this pandemic to set up hospitals, testing sites, and vaccination centers, Jamie has proven to be the type of transformational leader needed in city government," said Deputy Mayor for Operations Laura Anglin. "I look forward to continuing working alongside him and am excited for this next chapter at the Department of Design and Construction."

“I’m very honored by Mayor de Blasio’s decision and I intend to keep pushing changes at DDC and in the overall capital construction process so that we can build faster and more efficiently for the people of New York City,” said Commissioner Jamie Torres-Springer. “I am grateful to have served with Lorraine Grillo at DDC as she led the charge for reform.”

“For close to three years I watched Jamie take a hands-on role in implementing the changes to DDC’s capital project delivery system that we developed shortly after arriving at the agency together,” said Senior Advisory for Recovery and outgoing Commissioner Lorraine Grillo. “I know he has the respect of the staff as well as a thorough knowledge of DDC’s operations, and I fully expect him to be a strong and transformational leader of the agency.”

As DDC’s First Deputy Commissioner, Torres-Springer played a key role in developing the agency’s Strategic Blueprint for Construction Excellence, a comprehensive plan to streamline capital project delivery. Introduced in January 2019, by the time the pandemic began in early 2020 the Blueprint had already taken six months off typical capital project timelines. Once fully implemented, the plan’s reforms are projected to shave an additional three years off the time it takes to design and build major capital projects.

Torres-Springer has also had a leading role in several programs related to the COVID-19 pandemic, helping to oversee DDC’s construction of field hospitals, COVID-19 Centers of Excellence, stationary and mobile testing sites, vaccination centers and other facilities to help New Yorkers. He helped to build and manage the City’s critical medical personal protective equipment (PPE) stockpile, which can supply local hospitals and community clinics for 90 days if needed. He also is directing the siting of vaccination centers throughout the five boroughs as part of the City’s vaccine command center.

Jamie Torres-Springer has worked with public, private and non-profit sectors to drive growth through inclusive city planning and infrastructure development for over 20 years. He served as a partner at HR&A Advisors, a real estate and economic development consulting firm headquartered in New York, from 2006-2018. His national practice included work on urban infrastructure, global resilience planning; open space projects; and citywide strategic plans for inclusive growth and sustainability.

He has served as lead consultant for preparation of OneNYC: A Strong and Just New York, Mayor de Blasio’s long-term plan, and has helped the City to plan for and invest in critical infrastructure in Downtown Far Rockaway, Coney Island, Sunset Park, Hunts Point, Lower Manhattan, Governors Island, the Gowanus and Red Hook neighborhoods, and for the effort to close Rikers Island and build a smaller, safer and fairer borough-based jail system.

Jamie’s previous experiences in government include serving as Deputy Director of the Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency in the Mayor’s Office after Hurricane Sandy, where he helped to create the City’s $20 billion long-term resiliency strategy, and as Project Director for the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation during its capital planning and approvals phase. He is a past board chair of Fifth Avenue Committee, a community development corporation that builds and preserves affordable housing in South Brooklyn, a board member of Coro New York Leadership Center and a former board member of New Yorkers for Parks. He is an accredited member of the American Institute of Certified Planners and Adjunct Associate Professor of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University.

“Jamie is a true professional who has a depth of knowledge on the ins-and-outs of New York City. In working with him in the past, I know Jamie understands the complexities of construction and how to get it done. Congratulations on his new post at the DDC," said Council Member Keith Powers.

“Women Builders Council (WBC) congratulates Jamie Torres-Springer on his appointment to Commissioner of the New York City Department of Design and Construction,” said WBC President Stephanie Burns. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with Jamie and NYC DDC to further our mission of increasing diversity and the role of women throughout the construction industry."

“I am pleased to extend my congratulations to Jamie Torres Springer on his appointment to lead the Department of Design and Construction at this incredibly important moment in our City’s history. Here at Grand Central Partnership, we’ve had the pleasure of working closely with Jamie on several projects critical to the quality and character of our Midtown East neighborhood which serves as the world’s central business district. I am confident as Commissioner, he will continue to bring his professionalism, enthusiasm and commitment to getting things done to DDC’s entire portfolio. Now more than ever we need his innovative leadership as we focus on rebuilding and reinvigorating New York City’s economy and recover from this devastating pandemic,” said Fred Cerullo, President/CEO of Grand Central Partnership.

“The Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York commends Jamie Torres-Springer on being named Commissioner of the New York City Department of Design and Construction,” said Gary LaBarbera, president of the 100,000-member Building and Construction Trades of Greater New York. “Jamie is a dedicated public servant and brings an unrivaled depth of experience that has prepared him for this position. We look forward to continuing to work with him on revitalizing New York City’s civic infrastructure.”

“NAMC is the oldest minority construction trade association in the United States, with over 50 years representing the interests of millions of skilled minority workers and assisting over 200 members with building capacity,” said Nayan Parikh, President, National Association of Minority Contractors, NY Tri-State Chapter. “The NY Tri-State Chapter of NAMC has successfully collaborated with the DDC team in the past, including Lorraine Grillo, Magalie Austin and Wayne Lambert. We welcome Jamie Torres-Springer and congratulate him on his new position as DDC Commissioner. We're looking forward to working with you personally and your organization to continue to address social disparity and even the playing field for minority firms. You can count on our full support. Best of luck in your new position.”

“Jamie Torres-Springer is a terrific choice for DDC Commissioner. Over the past several years, I have found him to be insightful and responsive during his various discussions with the design community. He is also a great communicator, articulating the DDC’s goals to improve project delivery and design excellence, which has been encouraging to AIA members. During this critical period of recovery, we look forward to working with Jamie to advance many vital public projects which will greatly benefit all who visit, live and work in New York City,” said Benjamin Prosky, Executive Director, AIA New York Chapter.

"The Department of Design and Construction is an important partner in developing the many civic facilities that NYCHA residents utilize and depend on," said NYCHA Chair & CEO Greg Russ. "We are excited to continue that work with Commissioner Torres-Springer and look forward to realizing even more community spaces in the coming year."

“The New York Building Congress congratulates Jamie Torres-Springer on his appointment as Commissioner of the Department of Design and Construction,” said Carlo A. Scissura, President & CEO, New York Building Congress. “Jamie has advanced successful planning and development efforts in the public, private and non-profit sectors and has proven to be a dedicated leader, contributing to the City’s COVID-19 response efforts and improving project delivery and operational efficiency through A Strategic Blueprint for Construction. The Building Congress and its members thank Commissioner Grillo for her incredible leadership and look forward to continuing to work with Commissioner Torres-Springer and his team as New York rebuilds and recovers from this pandemic.”

“Jamie Torres-Springer is an experienced and talented leader,” said Karen Sheehan, CFO and Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration, Brooklyn Public Library. “We extend our congratulations to him on this new appointment and look forward to working together on an ambitious library capital program throughout the borough.”

“Jamie is a great communicator who is extremely responsive to DDC’s client agencies, and brings a sensitivity to the complexities around the diverse capital projects it designs, builds and manages,” said Queens Public Library President and CEO Dennis M. Walcott. “He’s also, thoughtful and innovative, and a true pleasure to work with, particularly as the City’s representative overseeing the conversion of several of our libraries into vaccination sites. Congratulations to him, and to the Mayor on selecting him as Commissioner.” 

“RPA applauds this appointment and looks forward to working with Commissioner Torres-Springer,” said Tom Wright, President and CEO, Regional Plan Association. “Over the course of his career, Jamie Torres-Springer has played a leading role in advancing vital resiliency projects, from the Special Initiative for Recovery and Resiliency to OneNYC. Since joining the City almost three years ago, he has led efforts to deliver major capital investments and advance strategic planning. We are excited to work together to build on these successes and lead New York out of the COVID crisis.”

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