Plotkin was born on October 11, 1932, in The Bronx. He earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from CCNY in 1953 before joining the army from 1954-56. He later earned a master’s in civil engineering, also from CCNY (1958), and an MBA in engineering management from the CUNY Baruch School of Business (1966).
Plotkin wore many hats in the tunnel construction industry, including working as a consulting engineer, owner and contractor. His contracting career notably included MacLean Grove, where he served as project manager for the 63rd Street Subway. He was also involved in the New York’s City Tunnel No. 3, as well as portions of the Washington, D.C., program.
As a consultant, he worked for DeLeuw Cather (now AECOM), where he was involved in the design of the Second Avenue Subway in the 1970s. In the 1990s, Plotkin served a stint as Commissioner of Public Works for Westchester County (NY).
Plotkin also taught physics at Manhattan College and environmental science at Mercy College. In his later years, Plotkin remained active in the industry, serving as a consultant and on Dispute Resolution Boards, and speaking at industry events.
Plotkin received many honors in his long career, including UCA of SME’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010 and an honorary doctorate from CCNY in 2019.
Plotkin was involved in various industry associations include UCA of SME, ITA, ASCE, The Moles and others.