Cruz Russell is the Director of the Office of Strategic Initiatives (OSI) of The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. OSI promotes the advancement of Port Authority initiatives critical to the region’s interest, troubleshoots project implementation and helps develop broad based regional transportation initiatives. Cruz is a veteran senior executive of the Port Authority having joined the Authority in 1985. During his tenure, Cruz has served in a variety of economic development positions, as well as serving as Secretary of the Port Authority from 1994 to 1995. From 1995-2007, Cruz served as Director of Port Authority’s Office of Policy and Planning. In this capacity, Cruz and his team members led the Port Authority’s long-range planning process, developed some of the Authority’s major regional transportation initiatives and environmental and energy policies, and provided the Authority and the region with valuable regional demographic and economic analysis. Cruz worked extensively on community inclusion efforts intended to ensure that Port Authority transportation improvements create benefits for communities which neighbor Authority facilities with minimal negative impact. One example of such an initiative was the planning and implementation of the AirTrain transportation project linking the JFK Airport terminals with local communities. His work ensured the cooperation and understanding of local residents affected by the construction phase and culminated in a successful jobs initiative that resulted in the employment of community resident for 90% of the newly created AirTrain positions. Expanding still further the positive impact of this project, Cruz created the CUNY Aviation Institute in Queens to provide ongoing academic preparation and employment opportunities for New York City residents for occupations in the aviation industry.
Cruz serves on several non-profit boards including the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation, the Gateway Chamber of Commerce, York College Board of Trustees, the CUNY Aviation Institute and the New York City Business Opportunity Centers. He has been honored frequently for his accomplishments. Most notably, he was presented the York College Corporate Achievers Award; the Public Service Award from the Association of Minority Enterprises of New York (AMENY); and Greater Jamaica Development Corporation awarded him one of their highest honors for his successes for with AirTrain project.
He holds an undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College and Masters Degree in Urban Planning from New York University.