Putnam’s Commissioner of Highways, FredPena Selected as Outstanding Engineer in Government

MaryEllen Odell
Putnam County Executive
(845) 8080-1001 

February 26, 2014

Putnam’s Pena Selected as Outstanding Engineer in Government

The New York State Society of Professional Engineers Westchester/Putnam Chapter presented Putnam County Commissioner of Highways and Facilities Fred Pena with its Outstanding Engineer in Government award at their 42nd Annual Engineer’s Week Dinner Dance held on Friday, Feb. 21 at Westchester Manor in Hastings-on-Hudson.

While public recognition for what he considers “just doing his job” caught the quiet spoken engineer by surprise, Pena was deeply honored to have been selected for the award.

“I would like to thank the NYSSPE committee for recognizing my contributions to the profession from among all the well deserving engineers,” said Pena. “I would also like to thank my wife and my family for all their support and encouragement through good times and bad, and especially my dad for his simple equation for success; continually strive in education, professionalism and experience.”

“Being selected as an Outstanding Engineer in Government is a great honor and Fred Pena is most deserving of it,” said County Executive MaryEllen Odell who along with her staff and Deputy County Executive Bruce Walker attended the event. “As the Outstanding Engineer in Government, Fred is being honored by his peers as a consummate professional who, by his engineering achievements, his reputation for maintaining high ethical standards, and his displayed competence, has unequivocally earned their respect and admiration.”

Pena’s professional training includes a Juris Doctorate in addition to his Master in Civil Engineering. Prior to coming to Putnam County in 2012, Pena had years of experience in legal and engineering fields. Hired by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in 1986, Pena worked in both their engineering and legal departments. He has been a design engineer and a construction inspector at the World Trade Center, a senior office engineer at JFK International Airport, and a project manager at LaGuardia Airport’s Aviation Department. He also served, prepared, examined and negotiated contracts and agreements for the Port Authority while working in their Law Department.

“I have had the fortunate opportunity to work with and learn from some really incredible professionals and the opportunity to work on some challenging projects.  Through every position, I developed a unique set of skills,” said Pena.

All of which made him more than suitable as a candidate to head Putnam’s Highways and Facilities Department, according to Odell.

“The responsibility of an engineer in Fred’s position is great.. In his position as our Commissioner of Highways and Facilities, Fred is charged not only with overseeing these projects but ultimately with safeguarding Putnam residents’ lives, health and property,” said Odell. “We were most fortunate to have Fred at the helm when Super Storm Sandy struck and 90 percent of our roads were closed. We would not have fared as well as we did without his extraordinary leadership.”

Odell noted that it is to Pena that the ultimate task of overseeing the proper design, execution and operation of every engineering project in our County falls. She said that in his two brief years as head of Highways and Facilities, Pena has proven himself a exceptional department leader and has supervised the repair and resurfacing of much of Putnam’s 117 miles of roadways.

Odell praised Pena and his team for contributing greatly to the safety and welfare of Putnam residents before, during and after Super Storm Sandy struck and mentioned that among the many projects he has seen to completion are the restoration of the County parking garage and renovations to the Putnam County Golf Course. 

“Putnam County has given me the opportunity to apply my complete background.  I am proud to be part of the Putnam County team and serve Putnam County, because of their focus, dedication and commitment to public service and excellence,” Pena said.  

Pena graduated from Pace University School of Law, receiving his Juris Doctorate in 1998. He is a City College of New York graduate where he earned his Bachelors in Civil Engineering in 1986 and his Masters in Civil Engineering in 1991.

His professional affiliations include membership in the American Society of Civil Engineers, Construction Specifiers Institute, Civil Engineering Honor Society, Chi Epsilon, NYS Bar Association and the American Bar Association.