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Record-setting Helicopter Pilot Honored by SUNY-ESF

ESF Alumnus Scott Kasprowicz, a longtime proponent for sustainable transportation, receives Feinstone Award

The SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) celebrated achievements in sustainable transportation by presenting the honorary 2009 Sol Feinstone Environmental Award to alumnus E. Scott Kasprowicz.

In July 2008, Kasprowicz broke the record for circumnavigating the earth by helicopter. He and his co-pilot completed their journey in 11 days, seven hours and two minutes, beating the old mark by nearly six days. The award was presented to him Oct. 22 at a dinner at the Sheraton Syracuse University Hotel & Conference Center.

The event focused on the need to recognize the role of innovative transportation in sustainable communities. Kasprowicz, who recently served as deputy secretary of transportation for the Commonwealth of Virginia, called for individuals to take responsibility for helping to solve the problem of getting people where they need to be.

"As someone who has worked in government, I can attest that government cannot solve our problems by itself," he said. "We all need to be involved. We have built miles and miles of new highways in Northern Virginia but our traffic congestion has not improved. We spend 62 percent of our driving time standing still, stuck in traffic jams. Government, alone, cannot solve this problem."

Kasprowicz, a 1978 graduate of ESF's forestry program, is an entrepreneur, business leader, and community activist. Much of his career has been devoted to developing sustainable transportation.

As deputy secretary, his work focused on transportation policy reform, transit-oriented design, and the development of a passenger rail extension connecting Dulles Airport with Washington, D.C. Kasprowicz currently serves on the board of directors and executive committee of the Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC). At the PEC, he works on sustainable community development policy. He is a founding member of Nuride, Inc., an incentive-based ride network founded to relieve traffic congestion and improve air quality.

The dinner's keynote speaker was Syracuse Mayor Matthew J. Driscoll, whose presentation dovetailed with Kasprowicz's message as he asked for public input on the upcoming rebuilding of Interstate 81 through Syracuse.

"The highway must be replaced because it is reaching the end of its useful lifespan and it offers an exciting chance to change the city of Syracuse dramatically," Driscoll said. "Imagine the possibilities if we remove the elevated portion of Route 81, the potential to reconnect the medical centers and universities to downtown Syracuse, the potential for business development, and the potential to develop green space. We need substantial community involvement and now is the time to get involved because the planning process is just getting started."

The award dinner was hosted by radio personality Jim Reith of 570 WSYR, host of The Jim Reith Show.

The Feinstone Awards program was established by Sol Feinstone, a widely known historian and author who was a graduate of ESF. His goal was to reward people and organizations that exemplified his belief that the best insurance for a free society lay in people's desire to do voluntarily the things that need to be done for the good of all.

The program recognizes leaders who care for the environment, encourage volunteerism and add to society's understanding of environmental issues and their solutions. The Feinstone program has made more than 100 awards, honoring people from across the United States for their significant contributions to protecting the environment, and promoting the spirit of volunteerism.