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Press Releases

May 3, 2016

New York City Department of Design and Construction Boasts Four Winners in the 2016 Outstanding Women Awards Presented by the Women Builders Council

Three Project Managers Win Outstanding Women Honors; Chief Diversity and Industry Relations Officer Wins W.B.C. Champion Award

Shavone Williams
Public Information Officer

Dan Leibel
Junior Public Information Officer

Brooklyn, NY—The New York City Department of Design and Construction was represented by four female employees who were honored by the Women Builders Council on Tuesday, May 3 at the 12th annual Champion Awards presentation. The awards highlighted female leaders in the construction industry who are paving the way for the next generation of women builders.

Currently men disproportionately dominate the population of the construction industry. Women comprise only 34% of the total number of employed professionals with doctorates in the field of engineering, according to the National Science Foundation. Additionally, males are eight-times more likely to enter college with a plan to study engineering than their female peers according to the Higher Education Research Institute.

DDC’s Chief Diversity and Industry Relations Officer, Maggie Austin, was recognized as a Women Builders Council Champion – a top honor of the night. Austin is responsible for increasing contract opportunities for minorities and women with the DDC. In her role as Chief Diversity and Industry Relations Officer, she serves as a liaison between members of the industry and the agency to promote the advancement of M/WBE businesses through outreach efforts.

DDC’s Lissette Molina-Gurevich, Starlene Scott, and How Sheen Pau received Outstanding Women awards.

Lissette Molina-Gurevich is the Regional Manager for the Build It Back program unit in Queens. She is responsible for the design and construction of over 700 homes that were damaged by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Some of the most complex projects in the program involving bulkheads, infrastructure coordination and attached homes are located in the waterfront communities of Broad Channel, Far Rockaway, Breezy Point and Hamilton Beach. Lissette, and her staff, works closely with homeowners to address resiliency and fortitude to protect these impacted waterfront communities.

Starlene Scott helped create the framework for the DDC Build It Back Program Unit, taking on several roles including Deputy Project Executive. She effectively handles Human Resources, Regulatory Policies, Inter-Agency coordination, Community Outreach, Sandy Recovery Hiring and M/WBE program procedures and policies. She is influential in continuing to develop the Build It Back Program, where she works to establish a streamlined process for homeowner communication. She also works closely with high school students who aspire to be architects, engineers and construction managers through the ACE Mentor Program of America.

How Sheen Pau has been in DDC’s infrastructure unit for 20 years. As Project Executive at the New York City’s Department of Design and Construction, How Sheen is spearheading the effort to design and implement coastal resiliency on the east sides of Manhattan and Queens. Specifically, her work involves the East Side Coastal Resiliency project in Manhattan and the Breezy Point Risk Mitigation Systems in Queens. These projects will create more resilient communities to withstand future storm events and promote community engagement by taking a community-based approach to design.

“DDC is proud of the female leaders, such as Maggie, Lissette, Starlene and How Sheen, who work within our department” said DDC Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora. “The construction industry needs more female role-models for young women to look up and prove that possibilities are open for them in the fields of architecture, construction and engineering.”

“Last evening's WBC gala was an inspiring event to celebrate and recognize four of our agency's trailblazing women that I feel privileged to be working with,” said Christine Flaherty, Associate Commissioner of Public Buildings. “It is so important for DDC and our industry that our pipeline of talented women in the design and construction industry continues to grow, and WBC's event serves to contribute to this critical need.

“How Sheen is an excellent engineer and mentor who has the ability to effectively manage several challenging projects with a very diverse client base,” said Tom Foley, Associate Commissioner of Infrastructure. “She is a pleasure to work with and is well respected within the industry – certainly deserving of this award."

“It is imperative that women get more opportunities to break-in-to and thrive in the construction industry,” said Maggie Austin, Chief Diversity and Industry Relations Officer. “I greatly appreciate having been honored by the WBC and it is our collective best interests to increase involvement in the field for women and minority owned businesses.”

About the NYC Department of Design and Construction
The Department of Design and Construction is the City’s primary capital construction project manager. In supporting Mayor de Blasio’s lenses of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, new or upgraded roadways, sewers, water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $10 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies, architects and consultants, whose experience bring efficient, innovative, and environmentally-conscious design and construction strategies to city projects. For more information, please visit