Eugene J. “Gene” Fasullo, whose long love affair with engineering led to his appointment as chief engineer of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, has died. He was 89.
An “outside the box” thinker, his multiform experiences became the material for his engaging stories. It could be said he lived to tell the tale, happily spinning them for a willing audience of any size.
Fasullo, P.E., F.ASCE, was ASCE’s first OPAL winner in the category of government, and a Life Member. Over many years, he earned a reputation for clearly defining a goal and determining the most efficient path to its accomplishment.
After his years in the U.S. Marines, through happenstance he applied for a civil engineer position with the port authority and was hired. His early career focused on the design, construction, and renovation of bridges, buildings, airports, and tunnels. This included the addition of the lower level of the George Washington Bridge and structural design work at JFK International, Newark, and La Guardia airports.
Fasullo was promoted several times, and in 1992 he was appointed to the position of director of engineering and chief engineer, where he introduced many innovations in his structural design projects, resulting in strength and economy. He also created structures of great aesthetic appeal.
He always felt passionate about engineers being an integral part of the successful execution of every phase of a construction project. He kept working, after retiring from the Port Authority, to promote the role of the engineer through speaking engagements and by working in education as a professor. These efforts as well as his consulting practice left an indelible impression on many.
Throughout his career, “Gene” received recognition from many organizations for his contributions in construction and the field of civil engineering.
He spoke fondly about the pleasures of growing up in simpler times, but would also recount his 1993 escape from a smoke-filled elevator during that year’s attack on the World Trade Center – after which he immediately set about restoring the safety of the building.
A philosophical man, he was nevertheless prone to adventure, and once took a “how to ski” manual on his first visit to the slopes. Fasullo was also a lifelong tennis player.