The gala honoree was Michael Viggiano, executive vice president of Skanska USA Civil Northeast. Skanska, whose office is in the Bulova headquarters in East Elmhurst, has been behind a long list of projects that have shaped New York City’s infrastructure.
They built the World Trade Center transportation hub and the Oculus, which has quickly become an iconic spot since its opening. They also worked on the Second Avenue subway line and the expansion of the 7 train to Hudson Yards in Manhattan’s west side.
In Queens, Skanska led the construction of the $1.9 billion Kennedy Airport AirTrain, which Viggiano said “fundamentally transformed access to JFK.” The monumental project created more than 4,000 construction jobs and provided $81.5 million in construction contracts to Queens businesses.
“Over the past few decades, Skanska is proud to work with and for the Queens community on many projects and partnerships that have touched the lives of the people who live here,” he said.
Skanska is currently working on building LaGuardia Airport’s $4 billion Central Terminal B and the surrounding infrastructure. To give perspective on how large that project is, Viggiano said if the company was only working on that terminal, it would still be the 22nd largest construction company alone.
The construction giant also worked on the Astoria and Rockaways landings as part of NYC Ferry’s citywide expansion. They oversaw completion of the first span of the Kosciuszko Bridge, which opened earlier this year.
Outside of transportation infrastructure, the company also reconstructed the new Rockaway boardwalk after it was badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy. They also helped modernize the Newtown Creek and Bowery Bay wastewater pollution plants.
“This may not be the sexiest part of our business, but this work is critical to city’s future growth,” Viggiano said.
What all of those projects have in common, he said, is they are all critical to the “continuous economic growth and well-being” of the city. He said it’s not only important to fix what’s broken or rebuild after a disaster, but also build for resilience.
“Build in a way that fundamentally understands our city’s infinite growth and potential,” he said.
On nearly all of those projects, Skanska has worked with the mayor, the governor and local legislators who “understand how important these investments are.”
“They have demonstrated their commitment by making these budgetary and policy priorities,” Viggiano said. “Now we just got to figure out a way for them to talk to each other.”
On the federal level, Viggiano said New York City’s infrastructure needs must be a priority. He said the city needs to speak with “one clear voice” to get the funding needed to continue improving the city.
“That’s my one ask for tonight: everybody here tonight becomes an advocate in supporting a fully funded federal infrastructure bill,” he said. “Our city’s future is dependent on it.
“Skanska will continue to be part of the fabric of the Queens community as it builds New York City for years to come,” Viggiano added. “We are proud and grateful for that.”