Gus Preschle



World Trade Center Operations - Most Port Authority employees will remember some special moments at the World Trade Center even if they did not work there. A visit to the Observation Deck or Windows On The World always thrilled our out-of-town guests. Remember watching the Tall Ships Parade or July 4th fireworks from our offices? How about the top-notch entertainment on the Plaza every Summer?

I spent much of my career working at the Trade Center. Starting as a Junior Operations Analyst in 1970 I helped set up operations and maintenance procedures as the towers rose. Then, decades later on 9/11, when we lost our beloved coworkers and those towers, I was Assistant Chief Technology overseeing the installation of sophisticated building control and security system upgrades. Most remarkable for me were the years 1985 through 1992 when I served as Operations Manager and then General Manager of the complex.

The Landmark facility was unique in many ways. We were in direct competition with the private sector. As the World Financial Center and other first-class buildings sprung up around us we had to be creative, inventive and always open to new ideas. 275 tenants such as Fuji Bank, Dean Witter Reynolds, and the Commodities Exchange Center demanded first class services, and we did our best to provide them.

Almost 2,000 HVAC watch engineers, electricians, painters, window washers, security guards, cleaners and elevator technicians worked around the clock to “keep the lights on.” All of this work was overseen by the finest team of PA facility supervisors, administrators and managers, some of whom gave their lives in service to our tenants and each other. They were aided by other specialists from the WTC Construction and Planning Divisions as well as Port Authority Procurement, Risk Management, Law, Finance, and Human Resources.

Perhaps the finest display of teamwork was during the months that many of us worked with the Executive Director on 12-to-14 hour days to reopen the towers after the tragic bombing of February 26, 1993. An extraordinary team of specialists was pulled together overnight from within and outside the Agency to assess the damage, muster the resources to make massive repairs, clean every square inch and help tenants move back in. We did it because it was our job and we did it for our co-workers Bob Kirkpatrick, Monica Rodriguez and her unborn child, Steve Knapp, and Bill Macko whom we lost on the tragic day.

Tens of thousands of visitors a day also relied on building services if only to ride an escalator from PATH to walk through NY City's largest underground mall on their way to work on Wall Street. Others used a bank or restaurant. Then there were those special visitors. Our PA Police regularly protected visitors like Nelson Mandela, Reverend Desmond Tutu, Henry Kissinger, President Salinas of Mexico, and many more.

It was an honor to work with this incredible team for the better part of three decades.



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