Mayor Bill de Blasio today appointed Henry (‘Hank’) Gutman as New York City’s next Commissioner of the Department of Transportation (DOT), just days after announcing an unprecedently ambitious agenda for 2021 in his annual State of the City address.
Gutman, who serves as Chair of the Brooklyn Navy Yard and serves on the Board of Brooklyn Bridge Park, was a member of Mayor de Blasio’s BQE Expert Panel in 2019 and 2020.
Gutman announced New York City will build 10,000 new bike parking racks by the end of 2022 – more than triple the City’s current Green Wave commitment.
“Hank Gutman is a visionary leader whose decades of civic life in this city have made New York City fairer, better, and more accessible,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We made permanent and progressive changes to city streets last year, and we have more to do this year. I can’t wait to work with him to expand transportation options to every New Yorker and build a recovery for all of us.”
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Acting Commissioner Margaret Forgione, who has led the department on an interim basis since December, will remain in the department and serve as Gutman’s First Deputy Commissioner.
Jee Mee Kim, currently a principal at HR&A Advisors and a 20-year veteran of national transportation and urban development projects, will join DOT as Chief Strategy Officer.
Mayor de Blasio’s State of the City address last week featured a bold transportation agenda – one year after the City’s Open Streets and Open Restaurants programs offered the most dramatic reshaping of New York City’s streets in generations.
The City plans to increase public space in neighborhoods hit hardest by COVID-19; make Open Streets permanent; expand the city’s protected bike lane infrastructure with “Bike Boulevards” in every borough; and offer “Bridges for the People,” which will offer expanded cycling infrastructure on the Queensboro and Brooklyn Bridges.
“Hank brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Department of Transportation at a time when we continue to transform our streetscape to ensure all New Yorkers have equitable and safe transit options,” said Deputy Mayor Laura Anglin. “I am looking forward to working with Hank on implementing the bold transportation agenda the Mayor outlined in his State of the City, and I’m confident the team he is assembling is poised and to make a lasting impact for all New Yorkers and this city.”
“We have an opportunity to chart a new path for this city – one that leaves Robert Moses’ vision behind, beats back COVID-19, protects our environment, and builds a fair, safe, and equitable recovery for all of us,” said Commissioner Hank Gutman. “Today’s commitment to build 10,000 bike parking spaces will give more New Yorkers than ever an appealing alternative to car culture, and it will transform biking in this city. I’m grateful to Mayor de Blasio for giving me the chance to serve the city I love. I can’t wait to get started.”
“I have served in City government since the 1990s, and I’ve seen the remarkable evolution of DOT’s mission. This administration has tasked the agency with creating a City for the people: safe streets, high-quality public spaces, and an equitable transportation system,” said First Deputy Commissioner Margaret Forgione. “I know Hank and Jee Mee believe deeply in that agency’s vision. I’m excited to welcome them to the team, and I can’t wait to start this new chapter alongside them.”
“As a long-time transportation planner – and resident of the Rockaways in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy – I believe in the power of transportation to uplift neighborhoods and transform our city,” said Chief Strategy Officer Jee Mee Kim. “I am optimistic about the opportunity we have before us, and I can’t wait to advance this agency’s mission and deliver a recovery for all of us.”
Hank Gutman, a 45-year Brooklyn resident, is a Retired Partner of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, LLP, where he headed the Intellectual Property Practice Group from 1996 until his recent retirement.
During his 40-year legal career, Gutman litigated a wide range of high-profile cases, including Lotus v. Borland, which he argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. Gutman serves as Chair of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the City’s largest industrial park, providing thousands of quality manufacturing jobs for those who need them most.
He also serves on the Board of Brooklyn Bridge Park, helping create a world-class park on what was an abandoned waterfront.
Gutman is a trustee of the Brooklyn Public Library, where he co-chairs the Digital Innovation Committee, and a member of the Board of St. Ann’s Warehouse. He previously served as Vice-Chair of the New York League of Conservation Voters, and as a Board member of the National Center for Law and Economic Justice.
Margaret Forgione has served at DOT in senior roles since 1994, most recently as Acting Commissioner. Prior to that, Forgione served as Chief Operations Officer, a position she held from June 2016 until December 2020. Forgione has previously served as DOT’s Manhattan Borough Commissioner.
She has also led DOT’s Arterial Maintenance Unit, directed the Adopt-A-Highway program, and served as a Special Assistant to the First Deputy Commissioner.
Forgione began her work in New York City government as a Senior Analyst in the Mayor’s Office of Operations.
Jee Mee Kim brings 20 years of experience in managing complex urban development and transportation projects across the United States.
Before joining HR&A Advisors in 2014, she served as a Principal at Sam Schwartz Consulting in New York City, where she spearheaded transportation studies, environmental reviews, and land use approvals for major projects such as IKEA Brooklyn, Atlantic Yards, and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway Triple Cantilever Study.
Kim brings extraordinary experience in transit-oriented development, resiliency, open space planning, and organizational strategy.
She began her career as a social justice leader, whose work ranged from organizing New York City’s Asian immigrant communities around workers’ rights and housing issues at CAAAV to advocating for clean water and recycling at the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Urban Program.
“Today, I send my warm congratulations to Hank Gutman on his appointment as commissioner of the NYC Department of Transportation. New York City’s transportation infrastructure faces many challenges and its safe and efficient operation has never been more critical than in the midst of our response to this crisis. I know Hank will devote himself to the important work ahead,” said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.
“Hank Gutman is a distinguished New Yorker who cares greatly about our City. He has the vision, intellect, experience and expertise needed as we reimagine and bolster our streets, transportation network and public places to meet the challenges of our time. I congratulate Hank on his appointment and applaud Mayor de Blasio for his selection,” said U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries.
“I’d like to congratulate my friend Hank Gutman on his appointment to NYC DOT Commissioner. I have worked with Hank going back two decades when as President of the Downtown Brooklyn Local Development Corporation, he conceived a study that I secured funding for to ensure better transportation access to the then-planned Brooklyn Bridge Park. Hank is a problem solver and has had a great impact on the rebuilding of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway. From his service on the Brooklyn Bridge Park board to that of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Hank understands what makes this City work. Hank is up to the ambitious tasks laid out by the Mayor as we reimagine our city streets and infrastructure in a more equitable and sustainable way for bikes, pedestrians, and businesses,” said U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez.
“NYC DOT is getting quite a tag-team in Hank Gutman as Commissioner and Jee Mee Kim as Chief Strategy Officer,” said Sam Schwartz, Founder, Sam Schwartz Engineering. “The transformation of Brooklyn Bridge Park is a testament to Hank’s vision and determination. Jee Mee is a smart and socially responsible planner; she is ideally suited for leading the strategic planning of the department. These are exciting times at DOT!”
“The New York Building Congress congratulates Hank Gutman on being named Commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation,” said Carlo A. Scissura, President and CEO of the New York Building Congress. “Hank is a visionary who led the transformation of Brooklyn Bridge Park and helped make the Brooklyn Navy Yard the national economic success it is today. Having worked alongside him on the BQE Expert Panel, I know first-hand the tremendous value of Hank’s experience, commitment and dedication to New York City. I look forward to continuing to work with him on revitalizing New York City’s transportation infrastructure.”
“We congratulate our former Board Vice Chair Hank Gutman on being appointed Transportation Commissioner; we know he recognizes that transportation is an environmental issue as well as a mobility issue. We also applaud Mayor de Blasio for beginning to deliver on his State of the City promise to enhance the bikeability of New York City by greatly expanding bike parking. This action will make it easier for New Yorkers to opt out of driving, which will improve air quality and slash emissions from the transportation sector. We look forward to working together with the Mayor and Commissioner Gutman on policies like this to combat climate change,” said Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters.
“Jee Mee Kim, with whom I have worked very closely, brings a wealth and depth of innovative transportation planning experience to DOT. Jee Mee, along with Hank Gutman, already a civic legend, and Margaret Forgione, establishes an outstanding team that will enable DOT to seize the extraordinary opportunities to make better use of our streets and sidewalks as we emerge from the pandemic”, said Carl Weisbrod, Senior Advisor at HR&A Advisors and former Chairman of the City Planning Commission.
“Jee Mee has the rare skillset that allows her to equally blend vision for mobility with the ability to get things done. She is the perfect person to have one eye on New Yorker’s transportation needs of today and one eye on tomorrow,” said Mark de la Vergne, Michigan Director of Cavnue and former Chief of Mobility Innovation for the City of Detroit.
“As a long time New Yorker and Transportation Planner, Jee Mee Kim is the ideal choice for Chief Strategy Officer for NYC DOT. Jee Mee’s ability to advance transportation projects that put people first and focus on the neighborhoods that may have suffered the most disproportionate impacts from Covid will help NYC DOT in executing and sustaining strategic initiatives,” said Jeanne DuPont, Founder/Executive Director RISE Rockaway.
“Jee Mee Kim’s roots in social justice make her the perfect strategy leader for the DOT and in a City where the impact of transportation on the ability of communities of color to thrive must be at the forefront of planning. New York will leap forward with her deep expertise, presence and authentic commitment to bringing communities at the margins to the center, and thereby, charting a better future for the sons and daughters from Parkchester to Bay Ridge,” said Erica Gonzalez, former Executive Editor of El Diario/La Prensa and former Advisor to Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.
“I was excited to see NYC lose Polly Trottenberg to the Biden Administration, and now also gain an excellent team in her stead. I have worked with Jee Mee Kim and she is an exceptional mind on transportation planning and policy with progressive roots in active mobility and transit. The combination of her fresh perspective in government, and Margaret’s deep knowledge of NYCDOT should assist new Commissioner Hank Gutman in fulfilling Mayor De Blasio’s aggressive transportation agenda,” said Gabe Klein, former Commissioner of the Chicago and Washington D.C. Department of Transportation and current Partner at Cityfi.