Afternoon Tea with “His Lordship,” Glenn Guzi

Recently, the Port Authority’s Glenn Guzi received an honorary knighthood by the Order of the British Empire. Such honors do not occur every day, so Portfolio decided to ask Guzi a few questions to get a better handle on what this means.  For example, will he receive lands, a castle, a sword and a footman named Mosley to boss around?

Q – First, lots of people were faithful Downton Abbey fans, so why you? Have you actually met members of the royal family?

A – I have met and I’ve shared time with members of the extended royal family, both on a personal basis and within my role at the Port Authority that spans more than 25 years.  I feel incredibly honored to receive this distinction.  It is something one does not apply for, and I was never expecting this at all.


“His Lordship” with Prince Harry

Q – From a practical standpoint, how will this honor change you? Will you get a Jaguar?  Will you wear a sword and scabbard to work?

A – I seriously doubt that I will change the person that I am. Does a leopard really change its spots?  Yes, I will have afternoon tea when the craving hits.  I have always enjoyed a good cup of Earl Grey. In today’s day and age of “If you see something, say something,” carrying a sword to work, especially on public transportation (since I’m not getting a Jaguar), is probably not the best idea.  So instead, I will continue to carry a pen to work.  After all, the pen is mightier than the sword.  Thankfully, I will not receive a castle.  I could never afford to maintain one.  And they’re probably hard to heat in the winter and cool in the summer.


Sharing a somber moment with Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton at the 9/11 Memorial Fountains

Q – Does the Queen or a member of the royal family touch your shoulders with a sword and dub you Sir Glenn?

A – I have touched and been touched by members of the entire extended British royal family.  The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (as it’s officially called) is an exclusive order of chivalry that was founded by King George V in 1917 and whose motto is, “For God and the Empire.” A Conference of an Order of the British Empire is done by Her Majesty the Queen, with advice from the Prime Minister/Foreign Office when it comes to naming foreign non-British nominees.


With Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh

Q – After your investiture, do you get to use an honorific before your name?

A – As a non-British recipient, I will not use a title preceding my name.  However, I am allowed to use “MBE” post nominal.  These letters indicate Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.  For non-British recipients, the investiture will take place in Washington, D.C. officially by the British Ambassador to the United States.  An investiture is carried out by the Queen or a senior member of the royal family at her discretion.

Q – Must you now recreate various aspects of medieval society like man-to-man combat or engage in jousting tournaments?

A – I have never been overly good at sports so I am happy to say that I am not required to engage in man-to-man combat.  But polo might be worth looking into.

Q – Must you become a British citizen?  How will your behavior change to befit a knight of the realm?

A – There is no expectation or requirement regarding becoming a British citizen. I was born American and I would never change that for anything.  Regardless of what we see as our political/governmental craziness, we are blessed to be American citizens.  Believe it or not, one can be stripped of their award for illegal behavior.  I was raised well and taught what is important in life and how to behave and treat others.  I feel confident that I will be able to continue to maintain a life of principles and respect for all people.

Posted in 9/11, 9/11 Memorial and Museum, Queen Elizabeth II, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , ,

World Trade Center Liberty Park: “America’s Response Monument” Finds a Home

By Portfolio Editor Roz Hamlett

A larger-than-life sculpture of a Green Beret mounted on an Afghan mountain horse has finally found a permanent home at the World Trade Center Liberty Park, nearly five years after its 2011 debut during the Veteran’s Day Parade in Manhattan.  Steve Plate, the Port Authority’s Chief of Major Capital Programs, called the statue, “a resolute symbol of strength, dedication and sacrifice.”


Photo by Mike Mahesh

Completed by artist Douwe Blumberg in 2011, the sculpture debuted on a float in the Veteran’s Day Parade down Fifth Avenue on Nov. 11, 2011. That year, it camped out temporarily in the West Street lobby of One World Financial Center opposite the World Trade Center. Amid ongoing discussions and varying opinions on where it should go, the sculpture was placed in front of the Vesey Street and West Broadway entrance to the WTC PATH rail station the following year.

Lt. General John Mulholland, the associate director of the Central Intelligence Agency for Military Affairs, along with veterans, top U.S. military personnel and other leaders, traveled to Lower Manhattan for the rededication event. Compared against the overwhelming size of the Taliban army, Mulholland’s elite corps of Green Berets seemed barely more than a few good men. But following 9/11, 34 U.S. Special Forces commandos eventually routed a Taliban army 50,000 strong in Afghanistan with grenade launchers attached to M4s.

Lt. Gen. John F. Mulholland speaks at America's Response statue dedication

Lt. Gen. John F. Mulholland Jr., Associate Director for Military Affairs at the CIA, gives the keynote speech during the America’s Response statue rededication. Mulholland served as the Task Force Dagger commander in Afghanistan following the 9/11 attacks. (U.S. Army photo by Cheryle Rivas, USASOC Public Affairs.)

Made of bronze and weighing some 3,500 lbs., the sculpture stands 13 feet tall and is mounted on a three-foot-tall granite plinth. Blumberg was inspired to create a smaller version of the statue after he saw a photo of the special ops team on horseback in Afghanistan.  An anonymous group of Manhattan businessmen who lost friends and co-workers on 9/11 commissioned the sculptor to build a large-scale version for the Veteran’s Day parade.


Steve Plate, Chief of Capital Programs with General Mulholland.




Posted in 9/11, 9/11 Memorial and Museum, Ground Zero, One World Trade Center, PANYNJ, Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, September 11, Steve Plate, Uncategorized, Veteran's Day Parade | Tagged , , , ,

Flashback: Early Air Traffic Controllers

By Portfolio Editor Roz Hamlett

A flashback to Newark Airport’s history: operations at the first Airway Traffic Control Station in 1936 on a bleak and drizzly January afternoon.  At the time, Newark Airport was becoming the busiest commercial airport in the nation.  The airspace above Newark was growing more crowded.  This was the same month and year that Howard Hughes would fly into Newark, after completing his record-breaking flight across the United States from Burbank, California.


By today’s standards, the air traffic control station was getting by on a wing and a prayer with tabletop maps, about four air traffic controllers and a blackboard of the sort used to teach school children.

The Newark control station had come into existence after a TWA flight crashed outside Kansas City, killing five persons, including the U.S. Senator for New Mexico. This accident sparked a Congressional probe and helped sow the seeds for the creation of an airline consortium in December, 1935.

Prior to the early 1930s, there wasn’t any need for a large organized system of air traffic control. Most flights took place on clear sunny days anyway.  According to Newark Airport legend, William “Whitey” Conrad, who died in 2000 at the age of 95, “there was no controlling air traffic back then. It was a free for all – a half-assed operation, but it worked,” he said in a 1996 interview.  Conrad is credited with developing the flag system at Newark for daytime traffic and the “biscuit gun” for use at night. The biscuit gun was a hand-held flashlight with reflectors.


The bill introduced to name the air traffic control tower at Newark Liberty International after “Whitey” Conrad.

Flights during periods of restricted visibility were not permitted. Still on the horizon were advances in aircraft control and navigation that would permit flight at night under conditions of restricted visibility. That is, with one notable exception – among the first attempts to illuminate an airfield at night took place at Newark Airport in 1929, with a bank of floodlights mounted on a platform and pointed at the runway. Unfortunately, the floodlights only threw light onto a small portion of the runway.  By the late 1930s, the capability of aircraft to fly at night in marginal weather had improved.

The radio equipment of the 1930s was limited; there was no automated flight tracking system of any kind. Air traffic controllers did not have direct contact with the aircraft.  Rather, communication between pilots and controllers was accomplished through a third party – an airline dispatcher or a radio operator.

If pilots had to fly in bad weather, they first had to file an instrument flight plan with the airline. The plan included the type of aircraft, departure and arrival information such as airports and times, and other information.  The airline dispatcher forwarded this information to the Air Traffic Control unit, which then determined whether the route and altitude might conflict with other aircraft.

The controller wrote the flight plan on a chalkboard, and a note card was attached to a brass holder called a shrimp boat because it looked like a small fishing boat. These shrimp boats would be moved along the map, indicating the approximate positions of the aircraft as they flew toward their destinations.  The positions were measured with calipers. This manual tool worked similarly to a compass – one end was set in a fixed location and the other used to measure distance.  This is how controllers kept aircraft safely separated as they moved between airports.


The early air traffic controllers tracked flights with markers called “shrimp boats” and using calipers.

Earl Ward organized the Newark facility. He is pictured above (left) tracking a flight with the aid of a caliper.

As each plane progressed through airspace, the pilots transmitted their position to an airline company radio operator, who then relayed this information to the ATCU controller by telephone or telegraph. As information was updated on the blackboard, the shrimp boats inched across the map.

(Under such rudimentary circumstances, it’s a minor miracle that the inadvertent tossing of a pair of calipers into a trashcan, or a shrimp boat that slips beneath a table, were never cited as underlying causes of an aircraft collision.)

On June 7, 1937, the Department of Commerce (DOC) began to acquire the ATCUs from the airlines and staff them with federally-certified controllers. The federal government renamed these facilities airway traffic control stations.  In May 1938, DOC became the licensing authority for all civilian air traffic controllers.  This began federal air traffic control, and the stations became the forerunners of today’s Air Route Traffic Control Centers.


Air traffic control modernizes with navigation technologies such as radar.




Posted in airport history, aviation, first nonstop flights, historic photographs, history of aviation, Newark Liberty International Airport, Uncategorized | Tagged , , ,