Steven Plate: the Man Leading the Rebuild of the World Trade Center – and One of Our ‘Resilience Heroes’

Today I’m starting a new feature in my blog, called “Resilience Heroes.”

When the occasion calls for it, I am going to profile people who are making things happen in disaster mitigation, resilience, and safety. These people are standouts in our movement, and we find them on the frontline, all the way up to the halls of Congress.

I want the honorees to feel appreciated, but it’s really all of us who should feel honored to have people like Steven Plate serving the public, and advancing resilient construction practices along the way.

We met Steven recently when we had the opportunity of touring the new One World Trade Center (WTC) and 9/11 Memorial Museum. We had the rare privilege of hearing the story of the resurgence of the site from Steven–the leader who, along with his team, is making it all come together. He told us about some of the challenges, the new safety features of the buildings, and how the site exemplifies resilience, both of the new construction, and of a national spirit.

Steven is officially known as the Deputy Chief of Capital Planning, and Director of WTC Construction for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. More importantly, he is a dedicated public servant, who took on the immensely complicated and pressure-filled job, in part, to honor the many friends he lost in the 9/11 attacks.

A civil engineer by training and background in public service, including serving as mayor of Glen Ridge, New Jersey, Plate is proud of the teamwork displayed to bring about the redevelopment of the WTC site. Even more so, he is proud of the way new development commemorates the tragic event, respects the many families and friends who lost loved ones, and gives hope to the country for unstoppable progress and resilience.

One World Trade Center has multiple safety features that exceed current building code requirements including thick concrete walls around a center core, with elevators housed in this protected central building core. There also are stairwells dedicated to first responders, and extra-wide pressurized staircases, among other innovative features.

Among the challenges Steven faced on the job was the discovery of an ancient sailing vessel buried at the site. After recovering the remains of that ship built in the late 1700s, progress was halted again when Superstorm Sandy caused a separate recovery effort in 2012.

No one ever said leading resilience would be easy, but where would we be without out people like Steven Plate, our friend, new mentor, and a true FLASH Hero.

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