NYPA Staff

Lloyd Sabin, NYPA’s Digital Specialist, Deployed With State Defense Forces

lloyd1Last month’s bombing in Manhattan’s downtown Chelsea neighborhood led to Governor Cuomo’s call-up of an additional 1,000 NY State and National Guardsmen. If you used major New York City transit hubs like Penn Station and Grand Central Terminal in the days following the Sept. 17 explosion, the presence of these military and law enforcement members was no small comfort.

The National Guard’s activation also led to my activation & deployment at Camp Smith, in Northern Westchester, with the New York Guard, which augments and supports the NY National Guard. My activation led to me taking a few days away from my regular day-to-day job on the NYPA Digital Communications team. That’s me in the photo, at the far left, taken at an August recruiting event at Stewart International Airport during the annual air show.

I was assigned with other New York Guardsmen to work with the National Guard and other military units from the Army and Air Force, rotating into Camp Smith and then deployed down to Manhattan. We were assigned to Range Control, assisting with rifle qualifications at Camp Smith’s ranges, traffic control, mess duty and security.

Some of the National Guard units that were activated had not fired a weapon in more than a year, so it was important that they went through target practice to make sure that the troops would be fully effective in real-life situations.

The New York Guard is a state volunteer emergency response force, augmenting and supporting the New York National Guard with manpower and skills. Its mobilization lastlloyd2 month was the first time it had been activated in response to an emergency event since Superstorm Sandy in October 2012.

I was proud to be able to support New York State’s response to the Manhattan bombing. All of us who were activated & deployed last month took the situation and our responsibilities very seriously.

I’ve always wanted to have some involvement with the military. Both of my grandfathers served in World War II—one in the Pacific and the other in North Africa, Sicily and Italy—so I have that in my family background and hold the armed services in the highest regard. My father-in-law also served for many years in the U.S. Army Reserve and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel, with many years of service at West Point, so you can say that I am part of a military family as well. At 42 years old I have been in the New York Guard since 2013, and just re-enlisted for another three years. Right now my rank is Specialist, Grade E-4.

The New York Guard is different from the New York National Guard in that NYG units cannot be deployed outside New York State. My unit, the 56th Brigade, has experience in Military Emergency Management, Force Protection, Traffic Control and other military specialties.

lloyd3It has been a great experience. The members of my guard unit are great, salt of the earth types—a great bunch of people—and I’ve learned a lot, especially about military emergency management preparedness for any one of a number of disasters.

While I’ve only been mobilized once during the last three years, my service commitment involves both weeknight and weekend duty at Camp Smith several times a month, with traffic and security responsibilities, administrative juggling work and family, but everyone pulls together and to make it happen, and I get to fulfill my desire to serve in the military and do some good for New York.

On the work end of things, New York State Military Law allows for state employees engaged in military service to be absent from work for up to 30 days military leave without affecting their salary or other compensation. NYPA and my department—Corporate Communications—have been nothing but supportive of my service in the New York Guard. It’s made a big difference and I’m very grateful for the backing that I’ve received.

NYPA Staff

NYPA Goes for the Gold!

HTWorthingtonOlympicsThis August, billions of pairs of eyes are glued to screens around the world watching their favorite events during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Everyone loves great athletic competition, but how many people can claim a direct relation to an actual Olympian? Julieanne Sullivan, NYPA’s Media Relations Manager for Economic Development, can claim several Olympians as part of her family!

Harry Thomas Worthington, Julieanne’s grandfather, was a nationally ranked track and field athlete during the early 20th century. His main event was the long jump, and in 1912 he participated in the Olympic Games in Stockholm, Sweden, placing fourth and narrowly missing his chance to earn a medal. Later, in 1915-16, Worthington was the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) and Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America (IC4A) long jump champion.

“He had a truly amazing life. The 1912 Olympics were just the beginning. My family was always so proud of him,” says Julieanne.

Additional stats on Worthington can be found here.

traceolympicsYes, you read that correctly. Media Relations Manager Julieanne Sullivan has an impressive Olympic lineage. In addition to her grandfather and 1912 Olympic track star Harry Worthington, Julieanne can also claim Trace “the Ace” Worthington as a cousin.

Trace Worthington enjoyed a spectacularly successful career as a freestyle skier. From 1986, when he won the aerials gold at the World Junior Championships to his retirement in the fall of 1997, he won 39 World Cup events, had 79 career podium finishes, was the World Cup Combined Champion three times and the World Cup Aerials Champion in 1995. His two gold medals at the World Championships in 1995 (aerials and combined), is an achievement never duplicated by ANY freestyle skier.

Trace also competed on two separate Olympic teams, following in the footsteps of his great-grandfather Harry. Ski Racing Magazine named him Freestyle Skier of the Year from 1992 to 1995 and International Skier of the Year in 1993.

For more on Trace’s skiing career check out this Rolling Stone story from February, 1994 and his current Twitter page.

Stay tuned for more Olympians with a NYPA connection.

NYPA Staff

Military Veteran Series: George T. Vitti, III

At NYPA, we honor and appreciate military veterans, especially our employees who have served. Our employees are recognizing their family military veterans as well, in a special photo album during National Military Appreciation Month.

NYPA employees shared these photos of their family members (who serve or have served) in all branches of the U.S. Military.

The New York Power Authority is proud of its employee diversity. Among the men and women who make up the NYPA family are accomplished U.S. Military Veterans.

George T. Vitti, III has been a Security Officer at the Poletti Plant for the past 6 years. He is a Veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom of which he served as a Military Police Officer in the Marines from 2002-2006.

What led you to join the Armed Forces and why did you pick the service branch that you did?

I dreamed of being a Marine as a child growing up in a military family, and I spent nearly the same amount of time at the local VFW hall with my father as I did playing with my childhood friends. When the time came, I proudly followed in the footsteps of my father and grandfather, who both earned the title of United States Marine during Vietnam and WWII.

How do the skills you learned in the military help you in your career today?

I was fortunate to have some fantastic teachers and mentors who taught and instilled in me these 14 leadership traits: justice, judgement, dependability, initiative, decisiveness, tact, enthusiasm, integrity, bearing, unselfishness, courage, knowledge, loyalty and endurance. There is no doubt that the traits and skills I have learned during my time in service has offered a guidance that is extraordinarily beneficial to my career here at the New York Power Authority.

Are you a member of any Veterans groups?

I am an active member of VFW Post #260, American Legion Post 1440, and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

Do you have any funny stories during your service?

During Marine Corps Boot camp aboard Paris Island in South Carolina, we had a recruit in our platoon that somehow got his watch through the indoc (they take all of your belongings when you first get there). Well, the Drill Instructors found out he had it when they saw him wearing it one day, so they put him in the squad bay trashcan and put the lid on it. Every time they walked by and kicked it he’d pop out with his watch and yell, “SIR THE TIME ON DECK IS ZERO-NINE-FORTY-FIVE!” and then go back into his can like the grouch from Sesame Street.

On another occasion, we had a full funeral procession and burial for a mosquito. Marine Recruits are strictly banned from any movement while standing in formation, and that includes the swatting of mosquitoes. On this particular day, Recruit Jones couldn’t take that bug gnawing on his ear for a second longer, so swat it he did.

Shortly after, the ceremony and games had begun, which including singing, marching, and a whole lot of digging, but It wasn’t until we thought it was over when the drill instructor had professed the question of whether this mosquito casualty had been a male or female. So, it was 6 feet of barehanded digging back down to the bottom to find out.

NYPA Staff, Uncategorized

Around the World with Maciej

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Photography has always been a hobby for Maciej Przybylowski, a Power Contracts Analyst for NYPA.

39-year-old Maciej grew up in Poland under communist rule. Although he began working in photography as a teenager, fiddling with a Praktica 35mm camera his father shared with him, not many pictures remain from his childhood.

“Everything was so gray: gray buildings, gray landscapes. And I couldn’t travel outside of Poland at all then. So I didn’t take many pictures.” The shortage of film and the ability to develop it also made every picture precious.

Once Poland became free in 1989, Maciej began to travel to Norway and Spain, constantly shooting more images of these new places. Through the 1990s and early 2000s Maciej continued to work, travel and study, earning an MS in Economics in Poland while working at a large farm in Norway in the summers, where some of his most striking landscape images were taken.

In 2004, Maciej immigrated to the United States, where he earned a degree in Marketing from Mercy College. He also began a family of his own.

Maciej and his wife, Marzena, traveled regularly around the US, visiting national parks in the Midwest and Denali National Park in Alaska. It was there that Maciej started shooting digitally for the first time – until then, he relied on his trusted 35mm film camera. He also began taking pictures of a new subject – his growing family.

His wife was an inspiration. She said, “I don’t have many pictures from my own childhood. And because of that, I want to make sure I document the childhood of my daughters.”

So Maciej regularly employs his daughters as photo subjects and assembles albums as the years go by, crediting his wife 100% with the idea. Marzena is the main motivator behind the thousands of pictures Maciej has taken of his daughters, and she is instrumental during family “photo-shoots”. Maciej works the camera, while Marzena makes sure that the girls are engaged.

NYPA Staff

Steve Weiner is on a Roll

Photo Credit: Ryan Schude/Guinness World Records

Photo Credit: Ryan Schude/Guinness World Records

Don’t let Steve Weiner get near your kitchen.

When he’s not working as a budget manager for the New York Power Authority, Weiner spends a lot of time with frying pans. Rolling them up. With his bare hands.


Why not? For the otherwise mild-mannered Weiner it’s fun. And it’s also earned him a spot in the 2015 Guinness Book of World Records for rolling 12 pans in a minute, a record, it should be noted, he’s, um, already crushed.

Weiner recently spoke about his unconventional claim to fame.

How did you first get interested in crushing frying pans?

I read a book called the “Mighty Atom,” the true story of Joseph Greenstein, a Strongman from the early 20th century. The book inspired me to attend a meeting of the Association of Old Time Barbell and Strongmen, which featured modern-day Strongmen performing all kinds of feats of strength, including bending horseshoes and spikes, and breaking chains. The experience awakened something in me.

When did you begin performing?

For several years I practiced many different kinds of feats of strength privately—mostly lifting heavy objects. In 2004, I was invited by the association to make my debut.

Why frying pans?

A friend I met on the Strongman circuit showed me how. I sprained my wrist a few times, but I got pretty good at it.

Do you have a special kind of frying pan you like to use?

I’m obligated to use commercially available aluminum pans. I get them for about $8 each. I estimate that I’ve spent somewhere between five and six thousand dollars on pans since I first started.

When did you set your sight on getting in the Guinness Book of World Records?

I’ve always wanted to be in the Guinness book. When I was a student at SUNY Albany, the student government sponsored a Guinness Day, and I participated in many events designed to break records, including a new one for world’s largest game of musical chairs. I also once tried to set a record by attempting to eat more than 20 quarter-pound hamburgers in 20 minutes. I was only able to eat 11.

When I started to get good at rolling pans, I was contacted by casting agents for a program called “Guinness Book of World Records Unleashed,” where contestants would try to break records before a live audience. At the time, the record for rolling frying pans was eight in one minute. I rolled 12 pans in 2013 and made it into this year’s book.

Tell us about your recent trip to China.

I was contacted last December by a promoter putting together a show of Guinness record holders at the Venetian Casino and Hotel in Macau, a part of China near Hong Kong that’s the largest gambling center in the world. Two Guinness judges were going to be in attendance. I watched video of my previous performances. Using time and motion studies, I figured out places where I could gain valuable seconds. Fortunately, I beat my own record and rolled 14 pans in one minute.

What’s your secret?

These feats of strength are as much about mental fortitude as they are about physical force. You have to believe you can do it. I really like tackling something that seems impossible. It’s a habit that’s been useful in my professional life as well. I never dreamed my quirky little hobby would turn into something this big. It’s been a lot of fun, but I’m not finished. Records are made to be broken.

NYPA Staff, Women In Power

Women In Power: Anne Kress

Throughout the month of March, NYPA will be featuring online profiles of professional women working at different locations and in different capacities throughout the Authority in honor of Women’s History Month. We provided a series of questions on career development, and each profile features personal insights on how each of these professionals reached their goals, both long term and day to day.

Dr. Anne Kress is a NYPA Trustee and the President of Monroe Community College in Rochester, NY. She also serves on Governor Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council and has helped draft higher education policy in both New York and Florida. She has been honored several times, including recognition by the New York State Senate as a Woman of Distinction, receiving the Athena Award from the Rochester Business Alliance as well as the Empowering Women Award from the Rochester YWCA.

How would you describe your experience so far as a NYPA trustee?

I have been very impressed with the level of engagement of the trustees and the quality and depth of information shared by NYPA leadership. Something that most of us take for granted every day—accessible, ready power—has been made visible to me: the visioning, research, planning, execution, coordination, assessment and resources that are required to keep this all-important system working effectively. I have also had the opportunity to visit the Frederick R. Clark Energy Center, tour the facility, and meet with NYPA staff there. Their commitment to their responsibilities, respect for the history and role of NYPA, and dedication to building a strong, innovative future was clear. There’s much to learn, and I am honored to sit at this table.

Were you aware that the Energy Industry had a “women problem” when you joined NYPA’s Board?

Honestly, I just assumed it. My appointment to the Board was based on my experience at Monroe Community College (Rochester) in strengthening workforce development and career pathway programming, so I am all too aware of the talent and skilled workforce challenges in technical fields. Attracting women to these fields is a particular difficulty whether the industry is energy or optics or advanced manufacturing.

The irony is that—because they are so underrepresented—women will find extraordinary career opportunities in these fields, but too often, they lack role models, encouragement, and consistent support to pursue and stay the course in what are (surprisingly) still nontraditional fields for women.

Do you think there is a role for our trustees in increasing and cultivating a workforce with diverse backgrounds?

NYPA Trustees play a significant leadership role in setting, supporting, and growing a culture at NYPA that values diversity in the workplace. Excuse the pun, but there is true power in diversity: it brings new ideas and new ways of thinking.
A few years back, a leader in health care spoke to me about the enormous changes coming in his field. He used a phrase that has stuck with me: “What brought us here won’t get us there.” Around the NYPA Board, we see the same thing in the energy industry: what brought us here won’t get us there. Adding new voices to the discussion means adding new solutions.

Do you mentor people? If yes, what do you feel is most important about that relationship?

Throughout my life, I have been privileged to have many mentors, and the lessons I learned from them prove invaluable each day. I don’t pretend for a moment to be as smart as most of my mentors, but I do think my obligation for their support is to pay it forward and mentor others.

In any mentor relationship, honesty is key. My mentors were generous in praising what I did well and honest in telling me what I needed to do better. That last part is never easy or fun to hear (or to have to share), but in the end, it always turned out to be more important and more helpful to build future success.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Up through my first years of graduate school, I was terribly shy. Though my grades were always good, I passed through my classes silently and invisibly. As research shows, this is not uncommon for young women, and our lack of voice has a negative impact on our future success—in school, in life, in work.

With some stern mentoring from one of my favorite faculty (the fearsome English department chair), I finally found my voice. So, I would tell my younger self to speak up, to put my ideas out there to be challenged and made stronger.

NYPA Staff, Women In Power

Women In Power: Patricia Lombardi

Throughout the month of March, NYPA will be featuring online profiles of professional women working at different locations and in different capacities throughout the Authority in honor of Women’s History Month. We provided a series of questions on career development, and each profile features personal insights on how each of these professionals reached their goals, both long term and day to day.

Patricia works out of the White Plains Office as a Project Engineer. She has worked on a number of projects since coming to NYPA in 2008, including the Lewiston Pump Generating Plant Life Extension & Modernization Program, the Ice Boom Storage Relocation Project, and miscellaneous equipment and infrastructure upgrades at the Niagara Power Project.

When you mentor people, what do you try to accomplish? What is the most important part of being a mentor?
To me, a good mentor is one that is willing and open to sharing their knowledge, skills, expertise, as well as their personal and professional experiences.
Two of the most important aspects of being a good mentor are the understanding of where your mentee is in terms of their career and professional development, and also having the ability to relate and speak on a professional and personal level.

What advice do you have for maintaining a work/life balance?
Maintaining a work/life balance can be challenging, but it’s important to really sort out your priorities and understand what truly matters most to you. Everyone needs to have some hobbies or interests outside of work that they can turn their attention to. It’s also important to realize that it is okay to take a break once in a while.

In your opinion, what is the key to your success?
The key to success is to continuously strive to do better, to never become complacent in your personal or professional life, and to always remember the priorities you have set out for yourself.

What do you enjoy most about working at NYPA?
Part of the reason I enjoy working for NYPA is the variety of different assignments I get to work on from operational, to environmental, to projects supporting economic development.