New LIRR chief Phillip Eng to focus on performance, efficiency

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Phillip Eng was named the new head of the Long Island Rail Road Thursday, and in his first interview, he says improving performance is a must.

He also wants to find ways to move more people more efficiently.

Eng was previously the agency's chief operating officer, but he was promoted to LIRR president after the resignation of Patrick Nowakowski, who left after at troubled four-year tenure plagued by complaints about service.

January 2018 was its worst January since 1996 for on-time performance, and a recent scathing report showed the LIRR in 2017 had the lowest number of on-time trains in 18 years.

Eng first joined the MTA in March 2017 when he was appointed COO, where he was responsible for leading major initiatives across all of the MTA's agencies with a focus on innovation and technology while maintaining and improving safety and reliability. From October 2017 to January 2018, Eng concurrently held the position of Acting President at New York City Transit.

"Phil has shown exceptional leadership and dedication during his time at the MTA, and I know he will bring his enthusiasm for developing a world-class transportation system to the LIRR," Lhota said. "With 35 years of experience in the New York transportation sector, I couldn't imagine anyone better suited for this position at this crucial time as we work toward creating a robust future for the commuter rail."

Before joining the MTA, Eng started his career in public service at New York State Department of Transportation in 1983 as a Junior Engineer. He gained expertise while working his way up from Construction Supervisor, to Director of Operations, to Regional Director of the Department's New York City office and Chief Engineer, until his final post there as Executive Deputy Commissioner.

A graduate of Cooper Union, Eng earned his Bachelor of Engineering degree and is a licensed professional engineer in New York State, and a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

He was born and raised on Long Island. He grew up in Williston Park, moved to Mineola as his first residence, and now resides in Smithtown with his wife, Carole, and their two sons and twin daughters.

* More New York City news
* Send us a news tip
* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts
Copyright © 2019 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.