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LIRR President Kicks Off Chamber Lucheon Series Sept. 22

Garden City resident Helena Williams to discuss the East Side Access project connecting the LIRR to Grand Central Terminal.

LIRR President Kicks Off Chamber Lucheon Series Sept. 22

Did you know that the 177-year-old Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) runs a system of more than 700 miles of track on 11 different branches from Montauk to Penn Station? Did you know that the LIRR employs approximately 6,700 workers and serves more than 81.5 million customers each year? What was the impact of Hurricane Irene on the LIRR’s vital link to New York City?

Members of the business and residential communities are cordially invited to attend the Garden City Chamber of Commerce’s season kick-off luncheon on Thursday, Sept. 22, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., at The Garden City Hotel. The chamber welcomes Helena E. Williams, LIRR president, as its keynote speaker.

While her priority focuses on safety, security, service reliability and laying the groundwork for meeting future transportation demands, Williams’ talk will focus on the East Side Access connecting the LIRR to  the Grand Central Terminal – cited as the largest public works project of its kind in the nation and the most significant increase in LIRR service in 100 years.

When this project is complete in 2016, LIRR customers will enjoy one-seat rides from their home stations to either Penn Station or Grand Central – saving up to 40 minutes off the current commute to the East Side.

Williams, an attorney and experienced transportation executive, was appointed president of MTA Long Island Rail Road in June 1997 - the first woman to lead the nation’s largest commuter railroad.

Williams has won high marks for improving customer communication, driving down costs at the LIRR and moving ahead with modernization projects that will benefit customers via better on-time performance and service reliability. She has recently overseen a reorganization of key LIRR departments and functions as part of an MTA-wide effort to improve efficiency.

Prior to her appointment as LIRR president, Williams enjoyed a distinguished career in public service, including terms as president of MTA Long Island Bus and later as Nassau County deputy county executive. Serving five years in the administration of former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi, she worked on key commercial development issues, restructuring medical center finances and preservation of open space.

Williams holds a J.D. from St. John’s University School of Law and is admitted to practice law in New York. She has a B.A. with honors from the State University of New York at Oneonta. Williams and her husband, Paul, and three children are long-time Garden City residents.

The chamber luncheon program will also include a showcase of various member businesses to begin at 11:30 a.m. through the reception period. Luncheon will be served promptly at 12:30 p.m. For reservations at $60 for chamber members; $65, non-members, make checks payable to the Garden City Chamber of Commerce and mail or drop off at the office at 230 Seventh St., Garden City, NY, 11530 by Friday, Sept. 16.

To reserve by telephone, with fee collected at the door, call 516-746-7724, ext. 101. Credit cards will also be accepted by telephone or fax, 516-746-7725. To view the invitation, or to download the reservation form, visit www.GardenCityChamber.org.

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