2018 Airport Business Top 40 Under 40: Ali Istchenko, P.Eng.

Oct. 1, 2018

Ali Istchenko, P.Eng.
Manager, Design and Construction Phasing
LaGuardia Gateway Partners, A Member of Vantage Airport Group
Age: 32

  • Alma Mater: University of Toronto
  • Favorite Aircraft: Boeing 787 – which runs Air Canada’s EWR/ YVR route. It’s the aircraft that regularly takes me between the two cities I get to call home.
  • Favorite Book: Currently it is Lonely Planet’s Tanzania Edition – so I can plan a trip to hike Mount Kilimanjaro when I’m done with the project.
  • Favorite TV Show: Reruns of the West Wing on Netflix
  • Favorite Movie: Apollo 13
  • Favorite Hobbies: Volunteering with the Achilles Kids organization every week - a program for children with disabilities who train to run and race in Central Park.

Ali Istchenko started her career at Vancouver Airport Authority (VAA), where she worked her way up to become a project engineer. Her last role with VAA was as building systems coordinator for a

project to decommission and replace the 1968-era portion of the domestic terminal building with eight new gates and an expanded security checkpoint.

In 2015 Istchenko joined Vantage Airport Group, founded by VAA in 2004. From Vancouver, she was seconded to LaGuardia Gateway Partners (LGP) in New York to support the capture phase of the massive LaGuardia Central Terminal Replacement Project.

“The last project I worked on [at Vancouver] had a lot of similarities to the [LaGuardia] Terminal B Redevelopment, with phased demolition, new construction and high standards for operations and passenger experience in the terminal areas surrounding the construction work,” said Istchenko. “It was a huge leap to move from Vancouver to New York and to step into a project this large and complex, but it has been an incredibly rewarding experience.”

Istchenko said she enjoys working with incredibly talented designers, operators, builders and business managers who all have a common goal of bringing this new terminal to life. “My job allows me to work cross-functionally with all of these different groups to solve problems and keep the project moving forward while maintaining the integrity of the airport’s operations,” she said. “I love being able to bring people and their perspectives together and to then see the building take shape.”

The project Istchenko is most proud of is the one she’s working on now — the rebuilding of LaGuardia Terminal B, one of the most complex airport construction projects ever undertaken. “The site is so constrained for space that it forces a level of creativity with the planning that is second-to-none in order to meet the constructability and operational requirements,” she noted. “We are building the new terminal on all sides, and even over top of the existing facility in order to keep the current terminal operational during construction for the 15 million passengers that pass through each year. When we are done we will deliver a beautiful, state-of-the-art terminal that New York can be proud of.”