History & Heritage

ed rummelEd Rummel: His Passion for Engineering Excellence Lives On.

Ed never experienced the internet (but he encouraged honest communication with clients and co-workers). Ed didn't know about computers (but he fostered a robust and quality-focused workplace). Ed was a great engineer – a leader driven to providing excellent engineering services (but he also knew how to cut loose with his co-workers).

In 1936, when Ed Rummel joined the Sandlass Wieman Consulting Engineers firm, he brought a passion for engineering excellence and a zest for life. His tenacity laid the foundation for what is today a top 100 ENR listed engineering firm with nearly 965 employees assisting hundreds of clients in 15 states and the District of Columbia.

Reportedly a wizard with the slide rule and a man who loved his German beers, Ed Rummel also knew the value of associating with highly motivated and smart people. By 1947, he had recruited Howard Klepper and Bill Kahl and formed RK&K.

From the two-person practice established in 1923 by Richard Sandlass and George Weiman, Ed grew RK&K to 60 employees by the 1950s, providing a growing range of professional engineering and consulting services to an ever-expanding list of satisfied clients.

Responsive People | Creative Solutions

Ed Rummel's legacy lives on in the growing and energetic firm he nurtured for nearly 27 years. As we approach our 92nd Anniversary, hallmarks of RK&K include:

Engaged Management: RK&K remains a privately owned, limited-liability partnership with senior managers and partners fully engaged in project development and mentoring future leaders.

Responsive People: Acknowledging that the men and women of RK&K are our greatest asset, our culture of responsiveness begins with Day 1 Orientation, continues with training on the "RK&K Way" for new professional staff, and is fostered daily through a work environment energized by mutual respect and collaboration. Over half of our professional staff holds professional registrations or certifications in their respective disciplines, and nearly 20% have advanced degrees.

Creative Solutions: Built on a foundation of client engagement and analytical comprehension, a simple way to understand RK&K's Creative Solutions is through our work.

Historic Experience: Harnessing the full history of RK&K innovation and experience continues to propel our ideas, our solutions, and our people.

Innovative Design: Matching clients with the appropriate RK&K expert has always resulted in stunning design and enduring results. Our commitment to internal education and mastery of new technologies and methodologies places us at the forefront of our field.

Historic Timeline

icon-default

1923

icon-default

Richard Sandlass (left) and George Wieman (right) "hang out their shingle" as consulting engineers' (Sandlass, Wieman & Associates), willing to take on any job, large or small. The firm's first modest office, located on Saratoga Street in Baltimore, is comprised of a few drafting tables and a dozen wooden chairs.

1923
icon-default

1923

icon-default

Transcontinental airmail launches. The first presidential radio broadcast airs. The first domestic refrigerator, self-winding watch and electric shaver are introduced.

1923
icon-default

1929

icon-default

Stock market crashes, Great Depression begins.

1929
icon-default

1933

icon-default

By its 10th anniversary, Sandlass, Wieman & Associates achieves considerable, rapid growth, evolving from small-scale drafting and steel detailing jobs to larger, more complex projects.

1933
icon-default

1936

icon-default

The firm hires talented engineer Ed Rummel, who becomes a transformative figure, bringing the firm into the modern era. The firm completes some of their largest commissions to date for the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and University of Maryland.

1936
icon-default

1941

icon-default

Japan attacks Pearl Harbor.

1941
icon-default

1944

icon-default

After eight years of expanding the firm's project portfolio and client base, RK&K becomes a partnership, and for a brief period, is known as Sandlass, Wieman & Rummel.

1944
icon-default

1945

icon-default

World War II ends.

1945
icon-default

1946

icon-default

A busy year. Howard Klepper, a highly regarded engineer whose expertise was in designing sanitation and water treatment plants, joins the firm to expand its capabilities – and soon becomes partner. The firm moves from its long-time home on West Saratoga to a new headquarters on Calvert Street. Founder Richard Sandlass retires at age 76. RK&K completes design for over $1M of construction in a single year.

1946
icon-default

1947

icon-default

A former marketer of cement products, Bill Kahl, joins the growing firm. He becomes a partner and is acknowledged as one of the firm's most successful business developers.

1947
icon-default

1949

icon-default

The firm begins a project that launches the "highway era" for RK&K: the Annapolis-Washington Expressway (Route 50), one of Maryland's first four-lane expressways. It opens in 1953 and is later renamed the John Hanson Highway.

1949
icon-default

1950

icon-default

McCarthy "anti-American" hearings begin, as does the Korean War.

1950
icon-default

1951

icon-default

Wieman retires after 28 years and the firm becomes RK&K.

1951
icon-default

1952

icon-default

Richard Sandlass dies on March 19 at age 81.

1952
icon-default

1955

icon-default

After the Brown vs. Board of Education decision, the Supreme Court orders immediate desegregation of schools.

1955
icon-default

1956

icon-default

President Eisenhower pushes for establishment of the interstate highway system, known as the System of Interstate and Defense Highways.

1956
icon-default

1957

icon-default

RK&K participates in the preliminary studies for roadways and structures for I-695 / the Baltimore Beltway.

1957
icon-default

1958

icon-default

The Soviet Union launches Sputnik into space. The first trans-Atlantic jet passenger service is established.

1958
icon-default

1960

icon-default

The start of a transformational decade. RK&K gains respect as the key regional engineering firm, with more than $30M of projects underway and over 1,200 projects completed since its founding.

1960
icon-default

1962

icon-default

The "father" of RK&K, Ed Rummel, passes away on May 6th. At a simple church ceremony, more than 400 of Ed's family and friends bid farewell. Out of respect for Ed, the firm decides to retain the acronym, RK&K.

1962
icon-default

1963

icon-default

President John F. Kennedy is assassinated.

1963
icon-default

1964

icon-default

RK&K founds a subsidiary Comp-Tron, Inc., to provide software services that generate rapid calculations for highway and bridge designs, hydraulics, soil mechanics and bridge pier design. RK&K opens its first branch office in Raleigh, North Carolina, to undertake design work on I-95 throughout the state.

1964
icon-default

1968

icon-default

Amid the social upheaval on the streets of Baltimore and across the country, RK&K becomes involved in the revitalization of the city's center and Inner Harbor/waterfront area (from the World Trade Center to the Rusty Scupper), under the leadership of the city government and then-mayor William Donald Schaefer. Howard Klepper retires from the firm.

1968
icon-default

1969

icon-default

Apollo 11 lands on the moon.

1969
icon-default

1970

icon-default

A new decade dawns when RK&K is commissioned to undertake the Baltimore-Annapolis Transportation Corridor Study (BATCS), laying the foundation for construction of I-97. RK&K completes major planning studies for the D.C. Capital Beltway (I-495), Northwest Expressway (I-795), and the Washington and Baltimore subway systems.

1970
icon-default

1971

icon-default

RK&K embarks on one of its largest water sanitation projects ever – the $23M upgrade of the Montebello Water Filtration Facility and serves as the City's Engineer-of-Record for the next 30 years.

1971
icon-default

1973

icon-default

Vietnam War ends.

1973
icon-default

1974

icon-default

RK&K maintains its ethical standards by rejecting demands for kickbacks by corrupt government officials related to completion of the Baltimore Beltway. RK&K is one of only two firms who remain clean in the Baltimore County/Spiro T. Agnew political kick-back scandal.

1974
icon-default

1977

icon-default

Star Wars is released.

1977
icon-default

1980

icon-default

RK&K launches a major role in rebuilding the entire Baltimore Inner Harbor complex.

1980
icon-default

1981

icon-default

Bill Kahl, the last namesake partner of RK&K, retires.

1981
icon-default

1984

icon-default

RK&K plans, designs, and provides construction management for two critical portions of the National Freeway (I-68).

1984
icon-default

1985

icon-default

RK&K watches proudly as the Fort McHenry Tunnel opens after a five-and-a-half year construction period. The firm served as a design subcontractor for the approach roadway to the 8-lane, immersed tube tunnel.

1985
icon-default

1986

icon-default

The first issue of the RK&K newsletter, The Kronicle, debuts. The firm acquires its first computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) work station.

1986
icon-default

1987

icon-default

The firm opens its Virginia Beach, Virginia office.

1987
icon-default

1988

icon-default

RK&K moves to new headquarters offices on Mosher Street, adjacent to the Jones Falls Expressway (I-83). The firm serves as construction manager for the Ocean City Beach Replenishment program, pumping more than 2.2 million cubic yards of sand onto the beach.

1988
icon-default

1989

icon-default

Berlin Wall falls.

1989
icon-default

1990

icon-default

RK&K begins the decade with nearly 300 employees. The firm launches several new environmental regulation and compliance divisions in response to expanded government oversight in these areas. It consults with cities to help manage and correct aging public utilities infrastructure. The firm's branch offices experience a surge in work during the decade, bolstered by digital communications that dramatically improve productivity and connectivity.

1990
icon-default

1991

icon-default

RK&K provides hazardous waste remediation services for several Army and Air Force installations.

1991
icon-default

1992

icon-default

The firm opens an office in Richmond, Virginia, launching its energy and pipeline services.

1992
icon-default

1996

icon-default

RK&K commences a successful mentoring program for all new college graduate hires.

1996
icon-default

1997

icon-default

As part of a joint venture, RK&K is selected to co-manage construction of the $2.52B Woodrow Wilson Bridge Replacement, its largest project to date. The firm also establishes an office in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

1997
icon-default

1998

icon-default

A busy 75th anniversary! Past work on nationally acclaimed Oriole Park leads to intricate projects for new Ravens Stadium: site development, utility relocation, service connections, geotechnical/foundation work, civil engineering for access, parking and truss bridge connection to Light Rail. In turn leads to design of complex access interchange from Capital Beltway to new Redskins Stadium. Pennsylvania office wins highway design contract from PA Turnpike Commission.

1998
icon-default

1998

icon-default

RK&K is selected as the Engineer-of-Record for a 250-mile Bangor, Maine gas supply pipeline.

1998
icon-default

1999

icon-default

RK&K wins its largest contract to date in Virginia to widen four miles of I-81 and opens branch offices in Keyser, West Virginia and York, Pennsylvania.

1999
icon-default

2001

icon-default

Coordinated terrorist attacks level the World Trade Center's twin towers in New York City and damage the Pentagon, killing thousands.

2001
icon-default

2002

icon-default

RK&K wins its first design-build work out of its Raleigh, North Carolina office with a significant win of the Ruin Creek Road project.

2002
icon-default

2003

icon-default

The firm establishes a Federal Program and opens its Charlotte, North Carolina office to expand its energy/corrosion practice.

2003
icon-default

2004

icon-default

In Richmond, the firm is selected to monitor cleanup work in the region following the devastation of Hurricane Isabel. In Baltimore, RK&K provides civil engineering for the expansion of the Maryland Science Center. In Pennsylvania, the firm provides design and CM/CI for the York Water Company's $20M supplemental water supply.

2004
icon-default

2005

icon-default

Environmental surveys and consulting services expand in RK&K's portfolio. Firm wins largest wet weather sanitary sewer overflow elimination project in Baltimore region. Awarded US 301 Project Development by DelDOT. Selected as GEC for Maryland's $2.56B Intercounty Connector, the state's most extensive construction effort. Office opens in Newport News, Virginia.

2005
icon-default

2006

icon-default

RK&K participates in the $210M double-tracking of Baltimore's Central Light Rail Line and installation of a new signaling system.

2006
icon-default

2007

icon-default

RK&K opens offices in Fairfax, Virginia and Lakeland, Florida.

2007
icon-default

2008

icon-default

RK&K provides civil site design for $30M Thomas Jefferson Visitor Center and Smith Education campus at Monticello. Firm completes updates to $32M Frederick Douglass Bridge Design-Build in Washington, DC, lowering entire bridge by 20 feet. Awarded one of industry's highest honors, American Society of Civil Engineers OPAL Award, for outstanding achievement on Woodrow Wilson Bridge; same project earns Grand Prize at America's Transportation Awards.

2008
icon-default

2009

icon-default

RK&K opens branch offices in Orlando, Florida, and Houston, Texas as the company begins providing cathodic protection and corrosion engineering services nationally and internationally. Florida offices experience a significant Construction Engineering Inspection win with the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority.

2009
icon-default

2010

icon-default

RK&K completes design and provides CM/CI for the Patapsco Wastewater Treatment Plant in Curtis Bay. The $300M project produces the highest nutrient reduction of any treatment plant in Maryland. The firm is also selected to manage construction of the $29.6M McIntire Road Interchange in Charlottesville, Virginia.

2010
icon-default

2011

icon-default

RK&K's Federal Program expands. The firm is awarded a project management contract for the Downtown/Midtown Tunnels/Martin Luther King Freeway Extension Project; the firm begins final design work on the $2.2B Baltimore Metro's east-west Red Line after completing preliminary design and environmental impact studies.

2011
icon-default

2012

icon-default

RK&K begins assisting DCWater with its water infrastructure renewal program.

2012
icon-default

2012

icon-default

RK&K establishes key company initiatives, including Bicycle/Pedestrian, Design-Build, Ecological Restoration and Tolls/ITS Groups.

2012
icon-default

2013

icon-default

RK&K's Site Group is awarded the Autism-Blind Residences & Learning Activity Center project for the Maryland School for the Blind in Baltimore.

2013
icon-default

2013

icon-default

RK&K's Virginia Beach office provides project management as VDOT's $2.1B Downtown/Midtown Tunnel/Martin Luther King Freeway Extension Project moves into construction.

2013
icon-default

2014

icon-default

RK&K's Rail Group begins work on the Design-Build for the Arkendale-Powells Creek (Cherry Hill) Third Track Project for VA Railway Express.

2014
icon-default

2014

icon-default

RK&K's Raleigh office begins work on its 16th Design-Build project, the $176M Future I-73 from Bryan Blvd/Airport Pkwy Interchange to south of US220 in Guilford County, NC.

2014
icon-default

2014

icon-default

2014 brings to a close the 15+ year-long Woodrow Wilson Bridge Replacement Project.

2014
icon-default

2015

icon-default

In 2015, the firm tops more than 1,000 employees for the first time in its history.

2015
icon-default

2015

icon-default

In 2015, RK&K wraps up another of its decade-long mega projects in Maryland's Intercounty Connector.

2015
icon-default

2016

icon-default

In 2016, RK&K acquires the assets of Tamayo Engineering, LLC, a highly respected, Miami-based engineering firm.

2016