Kay Nordstrom ME’77 has been an active member of the CUAA Council since 2014. She was elected as Chair of the Nominating Committee in 2018 – 2019 and 2019 -2020. She also served as Chair of the Election Committee in 2014 – 2015 and 2015 – 2016, and has been a member of the Gano Dunn and Peter Cooper Service Award Committees for several years.
Kay’s successful 45-year career has taken several paths – corporate, entrepreneurial and government – which reflect her intellectual curiosity, technical ability, and desire to make a difference. She attributes Cooper Union for giving her the knowledge, skills and confidence to take on new challenges.
Following graduation from Cooper she wanted to gain hands-on mechanical experience and became one of General Electric’s first female field engineers in metropolitan New York to provide supervision of maintenance and installation of GE’s turbine generators in utility power plants. Later, she was offered the opportunity to become Marketing Manager and Strategic Planner for GE’s service engineering business in Philadelphia.
While working full-time for GE, Kay received an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business. Her course work in entrepreneurship inspired her to start-up Kay Nordstrom Engineering, Inc. (KNE). For over twenty years, KNE, based in the Boston, MA area, advised transit and energy decision makers on matters related to clean energy technologies, improving operations and maintenance and managing complex projects. Under her direction, KNE expanded in the New England area, and later took on transportation development projects in Lagos, Nigeria and Port au Prince, Haiti.
By 2009 Kay wanted to devote her full-time energies to international transportation work. She sold the business and joined the U.S. Dept. of Transportation Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Office of International Programs in Washington, DC. She conducted transportation capacity building workshops in Africa and served a one-year tour in Kabul, Afghanistan. She describes her service as public transit advisor to the Mayor of Kabul as one of the most transformative experiences of her career.
Upon her return from Afghanistan in 2013, Kay volunteered for an assignment in FTA’s New York City office to help develop and deliver a new program to provide federal emergency relief in transit following Hurricane Sandy (previously administered by FEMA). She managed federal assistance for such projects as NJ Transit’s Transit Grid, NYCT’s ADA station accessibility program, and MTA C&D’s Penn Station Access.
Kay Nordstrom is the 2022 recipient of the CUAA Alumna of the Year Award which she will receive on February 10, 2022.