Magdy Allam has been overseeing and managing construction projects for more than 40 years. A native of Alexandria, Egypt, he earned a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Alexandria University. With VRH since 1989, he has contributed his knowledge and experience to numerous on-time and on-budget projects, most notably at Kennedy, LaGuardia, and Newark airports and the Port Authority Bus Terminal. He has managed over $1.6 billion in aviation construction projects throughout his career and forged a strong alliance with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
1 What is your role on the projects that VRH is leading at PANYNJ Airports?
I currently oversee and manage the World Class Cargo Facility development for Realterm and WFS at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). Every day is exciting. My responsibilities include but are not limited to monitoring the construction budget and the project’s fiscal resources, guiding the critical path of project schedules, selecting and managing contractors, and maintaining compliance with building codes and regulations. In addition, I am in constant communication with the engineers, the design team, the Port Authority, and the stakeholders to ensure that all groups are thoroughly informed on the progress and scope of work being performed.
2 How critical is the new RealTerm facility to JFK’s infrastructure and the airport staying ahead of the cargo industry’s projections?
Many cargo buildings at JFK Airport date back to the middle of the last century. The older buildings are narrow and not conducive to high-volume staging, consolidation, deconsolidation of shipments, and security screening – activities that today require more room to ensure efficient cargo flow. This cargo modernization program is a critical step forward in redeveloping JFK and raising its cargo capabilities to state-of-the-art standards. This will ultimately foster a seamless interaction with the on-airport and off-airport warehousing community.
3 From a design perspective, what changes are being considered for the Realterm project to ensure capacity and efficiency will meet the growing demands?
In 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a shortage of shipping capacity and disruptions that significantly boosted air cargo. This is the first new ground-up facility built at JFK Airport in 20 years. The modern design and extra space will ease logistic challenges as cargo volume increases. The facility encompasses more than 26 acres with 350,000 square feet of cargo processing and support space. The warehouse will have parking positions for three freighter aircraft, more than 50 dock doors for truck transfers, advanced technology systems for efficient loading, unloading, and storing cargo, and a dedicated temperature-controlled zone for handling pharmaceutical products.
4 What is VRH’s commitment to hiring local, MBE, and WBE contractors and suppliers on this project? Why is it so important to do so?
VRH is fully committed to hiring local, MBE, and WBE contractors and suppliers for this project. VRH’s good faith effort to secure the 20% participation goal of minority-owned business enterprises (MBE) and the 10% participation goal of women-owned business enterprises (WBE), prioritizing local businesses, aligns with the Port Authority’s M/WBE contracting practices. In fact, VRH has far exceeded these participation requirements on this project. As aviation construction specialists for the last 64 years, VRH is committed to this and all projects that we undertake to make minority hiring a top priority, meeting the needs of our community and the programs set forth by the Port Authority.
5 What are the key Green LEED elements you will be incorporating into the new cargo facility?
VRH is working with Realterm to make this state-of-the-art facility LEED Silver certified. Construction includes the installation of multiple car-charging stations in the truck and employee parking areas. The roof construction will allow for the installation of a new solar panels system that will provide additional power for the warehouse operation. Design and construction of the Power Distribution Rooms provide for future expansion of the Material Handling System Equipment.
Green building components refer to various elements that make a structure environmentally friendly. They include everything from the materials used in construction to how the building operates. The use of green building components has benefits for the environment and the people who occupy the space. This project’s Green components comprise water efficiency, waste reduction, renewable energy, and environmentally preferable building materials.