FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 30, 2017
716.285.6322, ext. 4151 or 905.354.5641, ext. 4151
NIAGARA FALLS BRIDGE COMMISSION ELECTS 2017 OFFICERS
Russell G. Quarantello is elected Chair
LEWISTON, NEW YORK - The Niagara Falls Bridge Commission (NFBC), the bi-national entity that owns and operates the Rainbow, Whirlpool Rapids and Lewiston-Queenston Bridges between Canada and the United States, elected its 2017 slate of officers during the Commission’s Annual General Meeting. Russell G. Quarantello of the State of New York was elected Chairperson and John A. Lopinski of the Province of Ontario was elected Vice-Chairperson. In addition, Harry R. Palladino of the State of New York was elected Secretary and Marcia T. Heit of the Province of Ontario was elected Treasurer. Francis A. Soda of the State of New York, Ernest K. Smith of the Province of Ontario, Kathleen L. Neville of the State of New York and Linda L. McAusland of the Province of Ontario comprise the other members of the NFBC Board.
U.S. Commissioners serve at the pleasure of the Governor of the State of New York, and Canadian Commissioners serve at the pleasure of the Premier of the Province of Ontario. All officers hold their respective office for one-year until the next Annual Meeting, unless the Commission deems a change is necessary.
Russell Quarantello was appointed to the Commission in March 2012 and resides in Lewiston, New York. He currently serves as the Business Manager of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local #237. Commissioner Quarantello is a master electrician who has worked for numerous electric contractors over the years, and has also held positions at the Carborundum Co., Viatran Corp., and the U.S. Small Business Administration. He was elected as the union local’s principal officer in 2007.
Appointed to the Commission in June 2015 and a resident of Port Colborne for over 40 years, John A. Lopinski is a Chartered Professional Accountant and retired in April 2015 as Partner at Crawford Smith and Swallow. He has been very active in many professional, charitable, educational and health related organizations including the Niagara Health System Foundation, Rotary Club of Port Colborne, Port Colborne General Hospital, and Niagara South Board of Education. Having served for fourteen years on the Peace Bridge Authority, including terms as Chairperson and Vice Chairperson, Commissioner Lopinski has considerable knowledge in the fields of transportation, tourism, governance and other cross-border issues.
Appointed to the Commission in March of 2014, Harry R. Palladino, a resident of Gasport, New York, currently serves as the Business Manager of Laborers’ Local 91, and has served in various positions throughout his extensive career with the organization. He is also the owner/operator of Palladino Paving and Construction.
Appointed to the Commission in December 2015, Marcia Heit retired as Operations Manager with Community Care St. Catharines & Thorold in 2015. Commissioner Heit's community involvement includes serving as a member of the Advisory Board of Niagara Nutrition Partners, of the Niagara Poverty Reduction Network and the May Court Club of St. Catharines. She has also served as a former public trustee of the District School Board of Niagara and as former Chair of the Credit Counseling of Regional Niagara.
Appointed to the Commission in March 2012, Frank Soda retired in 2010 after a 41-year teaching career. He resides in Niagara Falls, New York, and holds a BA and MA from Niagara University and an MS from Buffalo State College. He taught at Niagara Falls High School for 23 years and is also an adjunct at Erie Community College and Niagara University. A former Niagara Falls City Council member, twice, he also served on the Love Canal Area Revitalization Agency.
Ernest Smith was appointed to the Commission in November 2009. He is a resident of Niagara Falls, Ontario, and is retired from Canada Immigration after more than 31 years of service with experience in such areas as enforcement, operations and intelligence. Since retiring, Commissioner Smith has been contracted by the International Region of Citizenship & Immigration Canada to work as a visa officer in England, Hong Kong, Trinidad, Saudi Arabia and the United States. Commissioner Smith, a graduate of Stamford C.I., holds a B.A. from Waterloo Lutheran University (now Wilfrid Laurier University) in Ontario, and a Master’s degree from Niagara University in New York State.
Appointed to the Commission in March 2012, Kathleen Neville, a resident of Wilson, New York, is a public relations and brand management professional. Commissioner Neville previously served as senior vice president at Hill and Knowlton Public Relations International in New York City and as a senior consultant at Ketchum Public Relations in Washington, D.C. She is a former managing director of Shea’s Performing Arts Center in Buffalo and the author of non-fiction books and articles on gender issues and conduct in today’s workplaces, schools and sports. She also serves on Niagara University‘s Board of Trustees, the Board of Directors of the New York Council for the Humanities and the Board of Selectors for the National Jefferson Awards Foundation. She is also a Commissioner of the New York State Women’s Suffrage Commission. A past television and radio broadcaster, Commissioner Neville obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing from the Rochester Institute of Technology and a Master of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Niagara University.
Linda McAusland, a resident of Welland, Ontario, was appointed to the Commission in February of 2014. Commissioner McAusland is currently the Assistant Deputy Minister, Provincial Highways Management Division, for the Ontario Ministry of Transportation. Commissioner McAusland currently sits as a member of the Board for the Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) and is a Director with the Ring of Fire Development Corporation She has previously served on the Board of Directors for the McMaster Institute of Transportation Logistics, Canadian Transportation Research Forum and the North American Strategy for Competitiveness. She has her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Waterloo and has attended the Public Executive Program at Queen’s University and the Executive Leadership Program at the Niagara Institute.
About the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission:
A Joint Resolution of the 1938 U.S. Congressional Third Session created the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission. The Extra Provincial Corporations Act of the Province of Ontario, Canada licenses the NFBC. Canada and the U.S. are equally represented on the NFBC by an eight-member Board of Commissioners. Initially established to finance, construct and operate the Rainbow Bridge, the Commission proved sufficiently efficient and effective to assume responsibilities for the Whirlpool Rapids (Lower) and Lewiston-Queenston Bridges. The NFBC builds and maintains all facilities for Customs and Immigration functions on both sides of the international border. The NFBC is self-supportive, largely through user fees (tolls) and private-sector tenant leases. NFBC is federally chartered to conduct international commercial financial transactions and issue federal (U.S.) tax-exempt bonds.