Jerry Tobias



My most memorable time at New Jersey marine terminals would be on 10/29/2012. Better known as Superstorm Sandy. One would think that when I made supervisor would be a memorable time. But it doesn’t come close to hurricane Sandy. I was on vacation when the storm hit. A phone call was made to me asking me if I could return to work ASAP because Port Newark had major damage. Port Newark had received about five feet of water throughout the entire facility. I had a meeting with the General Manager, who goes by the name Mr. Tom Klein. Tom was the best GM that Port Newark ever had and probably ever will. He asked me if I would be able to provide domestic drinking water, fire protection, and pumping of sanitary waste in order to re-open the facility on the following Monday.

After surveying all the damage, I got back to Tom and told him that I can make no promises because Port Newark was in bad shape. I have never ever seen such massive destruction before. I did tell him that I would give him 110% effort as long as he was willing to work with me. I put together a game plan and handpicked my crew that would see this project from beginning to end. There were many people involved but only a few that were there every moment of that project. These key guys working for me were the best in their craft. It was Rich Mckee, Greg White, Kamtha Persaud, Carmine Bernardanilli. These guys were top-notch mechanics and in my eyes there was nobody better than them.

Within six days we were able to achieve what we were told was impossible.
Port Newark had potable drinking water, full fire protection to all buildings, and the abilities to pump sewerage to the Passaic Valley sewerage treatment center. However, these repairs were only temporary until permanent repairs could be put in place. Port Newark was able to allow all tenants who had businesses in Port Newark to return to their businesses. Our tenants were able to start the daunting task of rebuilding their businesses. When that Monday rolled around, we were open for traffic to start flowing down the streets again of Port Newark. My team and I were probably the proudest people that you could ever imagine. We took on a task that we were told was impossible, which in my opinion fueled our determination.

Over the next several months the same crew made permanent repairs to Building 111 fire pump station and The sanitary lift stations. Building 111 services all of Port Newark for domestic water and fire protection. If I had more space to write I would provide all of my trade secrets on how this was accomplished. I tip my hat to Mr. Tom Klein for believing in me and my crew and supporting us on our endeavors. Most of us are now retired. Except for one; he’s now a supervisor at Newark Airport. Over the next several years we had visits from the engineering department to assess the damage at Building 111 fire pump station. Every person that entered the building was astonished at our achievements. No one could tell that there was any damage ever done to this building. We actually drew a line on the wall of the water level that was inside the building as a memory. We were like the marines of Port Newark.

We were the first in and left no one behind. And the mission was successful. I have many great memories of the PA. The Port Authority was my life for 32 1/2 years. I am now retired and plan on doing that for another 32 1/2 years or more. I am very proud of Building 111. I was there from the first piling that was pounded into the ground until I retired. Building 111 was one of my babies.



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