The Port Authority’s Rising Star in Civil Engineering

By Lenis Rodrigues, Media Relations Staff  

Engineering is in Muhammad Elgammal’s blood. Raised in a family of five engineers, Elgammal already is making his mark at the Port Authority. Now, that reputation is spreading across the profession.


Elgammal standing atop One WTC in front of its iconic spire.

Last night, Elgammal was one of 10 men and women cited at a ceremony in Arlington, Va. as a “2017 New Face of Civil Engineering” by the American Society of Civil Engineers, an honor bestowed on rising stars in the profession under the age of 30. Elgammal, 27, is an associate civil engineer who’s played an important role in many high-visibility agency projects.

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Muhammad Elgammal with 2017 President of American Society of Civil Engineers, Norma Jean Mattei

Currently, he’s working on Terminal A redevelopment at Newark Liberty International Airport, and has been involved in testing sections of the Engineered Materials Arrestor System (EMAS) – the arrestor beds used as barriers to protect arriving planes at PA airports — as well as the World Trade Center redevelopment, runway construction at Newark Liberty and runway design at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Elgammal was inspired by his uncle, Mustafa Basyouny, a structural engineer who designs villas in and around Cairo, Egypt. Elgammal originally wanted to be an environmental lawyer, but changed his mind after a visit to his uncle’s job in Egypt. His uncle explained the drawings on paper that would result in the construction of a building, and his nephew was hooked.

“My uncle made possible what I thought was impossible,” said the Long Island-born Elgammal, who now lives in New Jersey. “At the end of it all, he pointed to the sign outside the structure where his name was listed as the engineer of design. I was in awe. Uncle Mustafa left me with a lasting memory, and even more so, lessons that I will carry throughout my life.”

His uncle recognized his nephew’s potential early on, and said that Elgammal’s family is “extremely proud of him.”

“The truth is, I saw his curiosity and passion for this field even at a young age,” Mustafa Basyouny said. “He wanted to know every large and little thing in between, and boy did he ask questions. Questions that would take hours to answer! He showed promise as a young student, and I had no doubt he would find success in our field. We look forward to more of his achievements as he continues  through his career.”

A graduate of the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), Elgammal is an adjunct professor at his alma mater, where he earned his Bachelors of Science degree in Civil Engineering. He also serves on the Alumni Board of Directors, the Board of Trustees and is the chair of Young Alumni Association at the university.

Elgammal is part of a team of Port Authority engineers and craftsmen who design, build, operate and maintain construction projects and systems throughout the Port Authority. He said he feels privileged to work with talented colleagues directly responsible for the redevelopment of Newark Liberty, one of the nation’s busiest airports. The projects he’s helped to complete will be vital to the region for generations to come.

“Muhammad embraces his work and brings enthusiasm and dedication to the Port Authority Engineering Department,” said Brian McLaughlin, his supervisor. “His engineering design achievements and student mentoring will leave a lasting footprint on the region’s infrastructure and future civil engineers. It’s an honor to work with him.”

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