Robert (Bob) Lockhart

 
 
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The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey: A Unique Vision - In the 1960ís my evening route from 111 8th Ave. to NYUís Graduate School in lower Manhattan took me past the foundation bathtub for the World Trade Center. The PATH tube was visible. It was an astounding undertaking. I felt pride in this effort since my work at this time was to handle on the capital accounts for the WTC and PATH.

A professor at NYU told us that we should not expect any organization to have a heart. The people in the organization may, but the organization itself is soulless. The unique charisma of the Port Authority to me was the general commitment of the people to the varied tasks at hand. The goal of a corporation is to maximize shareholder wealth, but the Port Authority had the task of providing an engine for regional economic growth. Unlike other government agencies the Port Authority could and did take risks in achieving this goal.

PA projects and facilities resulted in varied degrees of success and failure. This was an agency that had to deal with risk. Successes are evident in the airport, rail, bus, vehicle, ocean, and real estate operations. Failures include inland truck terminals, Fishport, and auto ship ferry to Grand Bahama. The leadership had a progressive vision for the organization that was shared by a majority of my co-workers.

By the time the WTC towers were nearly complete, I was a civilian in the Police Division. One of the perks was that the detectives took me to the WTC and we went to the top of one of the towers where the corner windows were still open. They held me and I leaned out to look a quarter of a mile down. I think they wanted to test me to see if I would falter, but at the time I thought it was great.

I was in Planning and Development in 1993 at the time of the first attack on the WTC. The Port Authority people responded to form with all hands continuing their work or taking on new tasks.

In 1997, I went to San Francisco to work for BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit). Fortunately, my colleagues at BART mirrored the professionalism and shared values of the Port Authority staff.

Then came 9/11 and the grief felt across the country. In shock I couldnít help but recall looking down from the heights of the WTC tower and now thinking of the horror faced by those in the buildings. God bless them.

I am left to think of the advice that Daniel Patrick Moynihan gave to fellow White House staff after the assassination of President Kennedy. He said that they would smile and even laugh again, but they would never be young again. The Port Authority of our past will not happen again. The future of the organization will be a new vision shaped by the current and future staff.
 

 


 


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