Well, what's something that we haven't talked
about yet? We've got a few more minutes before we
get to our... well, before we get to our picks of
the week, I hope you all came with a pick.
Pick of the week.
Oh my gosh. Did you send out homework?
I sent an e-mail? Come on, geez.
Alright. But first, what's something we haven't
talked about yet that you all want to talk about?
I mean, I think what we had talked about, talking
about like what we had talked about talking
about when we talked about this a long time ago,
we talked about how we came to
be at RK&K and.
Which is an interesting story.
Which is an interesting story and like how Rick
feels about the two people sitting
to his right.
OK. Alright, I will allow it.
Let's do it. Tell the story.
Once upon a time in a far away land.
Far, far away. About four years ago, I
started a conversation right about this time four
years ago with Rick Adams
and Scott Crumley, and Karen Kahl.
So three directors here at the firm.
I'd been in a traffic engineering position and
I really had a desire to focus on pedestrian
safety. And, you know, the things I was talking
about, like not not so much focusing on
the needs of my clients who are all private,
largely private at least.
I wanted to do more with my projects.
So I was putting my feelers out and
I I got connected
here with our and
it was a new opportunity.
I'm the first bike-ped person at the firm.
That's my job.
I solely focused on bicycle and pedestrian work.
And that was a I guess I would say a risk
in a way to bring somebody in and have
them focused solely on this multi-modalism
of the practice.
But there was certainly a lot of energy
around the room. And I could tell that there was
this special X factor about the teams here
So I thought, you know what?
This is a great opportunity.
They extended the offer and I couldn't say no.
It was very exciting to jump in and
get to work with Rick and work on a lot
of really cool projects around the region
is a learning experience for me in some ways
because I was jumping into this new
world that I needed to get to know a lot of
people and I needed to make sure that I was
there representing the interest of the firm.
So I literally poured
my heart and soul into making my position the
most fruitful that it could be.
It was probably the most rewarding when
we went after the the DC
Protected Bike Lanes project and won that project
head to head with a lot of competition.
So that really said, you know, hey, we we
have the good and bright team.
We're going to build something successful.
So like I said,
I jumped in headfirst and
I was really focused on getting to know people.
And that's where Melissa comes in.
That's a scary moment.
So Rick says to me one day, hey, there's
this this young lady, Melissa, she's
leading an office with the
planning and design firm.
They focus on bike and ped.
You know, we haven't done a lot of work with them
in the past, but we'd love to the team with them
So you should look her up and connect just like
you're doing with all these other people.
I didn't even know that's part of the story.
So I so I don't
even know how I reached out, but I just got in
touch with Melissa and said, 'hey,'
'Let's be friends.'
'Let's go get a coffee.'
Did he friend you?
So Melissa gets back to me.
Hey, yeah. 'I'm gonna be in D.C.
on this random day.
Why don't we grab coffee ever by Union Station?'
So we sat down for probably about an hour
and started talking and it was
unbelievable. We had this connection and all
these same common interests that it was like,
yeah. We we need to find a way to work together
at some point.
Well, fast forward maybe a year, year
and a half after we met we just
kept the conversation going and kept trying to
find opportunities to work together.
And Melissa started to get into
a place where she was ready to make a move.
And I said, well, give me your resume resumé.
I'll share it with people here at RK&K.
Okay. But wait, don't share your resume
unless you wanna work at RK&K because we're going
to hire you because you're amazing.
So that is where
she came to be at RK&K and I'll let her tell the
Okay. Well, I think first
let's back up just a smidge.
So we Nathan and I are now friends.
We do the coffees, we do the grabbing of the
drinks and actually I had
a really bad back injury and landed
myself in the hospital.
And somehow I don't know how I told you about
that. We must have had something scheduled.
And I was just like, 'I kind of have a cane and
not get around really well.' So he
he was like, 'oh, well, I have Ravens tickets.
Do you want to go to a Ravens game?' So I met
Scott Crumley and Nathan took
me to a Ravens game.
I can't I don't even know who else was there.
Were there other RK&K people there?
A couple Fairfax folks.
Were there? OK, see, I told you, I didn't know
these people. I'm like, 'oh, cool, we're going to
a Ravens game.' I'm not saying that sealed
the deal or anything, but
I thought that was that was very genuine and
nice, and met Scott Crumley.
And he was just such a nice guy.
It was like one of the first times I think I've
been out of the house without like assistance.
So it's really
great. And then I think we got more serious about
our conversation after that.
You have to kind of like meeting Scott and I had
met Rick before. I like working a team on
projects and a couple other folks.
And so, yeah,
when Nathan said, why don't you come in and bring
your résumé? I mean, I brought a portfolio
because that's what landscape architects do,
you know. So I laid out a thing and
I brought that in and met with, I think, two
hundred people when I came in.
I think we saw of portfolio were like, 'What is
this? We don't do this in engineering.'.
I remember Melinda came in and she's that.
We've never seen anything like this before.
So I'm pretty excited about it.
I was like, OK. And I'm in the back of my mind.
I'm going like one landscape architect like it
was, will we do the graphic design?
Like this is normal.
But I'm glad you guys think it's special.
So I like that.
And John d'Epagnier was in the room
and he was just like, 'I don't understand
why you want to work in RK&K.
'Like, why do you want to be this landscape
architect all by yourself and all these
engineers? Like, why do you want to do it?'
And I had also given that some thought
and asked myself that question.
And I said to him, I don't know if you remember,
but I said, 'you know, John, I really like being
in the purple fish and the gray fish pond.'.
I remember that.
And he was like, well, OK, you know,
So I know that you all probably thought, again,
Who is this crazy person?
Not at all.
yeah, go ahead.
I was just gonna say Tim, going back to the beginning,
like Nathan said when we first met him.
I think again was, as Melissa alluded to
earlier, like we have a lot of experts
in different areas and we saw
our clients and our communities asking for
bicycle and pedestrian facilities, complete
streets, and we have people skilled
in it. But we said we really need somebody that
this is their passion because we have people who
are passionate about bridges, we're passionate
about interchanges and passionate about streams.
But we needed somebody was passionate about bike
and ped. And it's funny because when we
interviewed him, it's like that's exactly what he
said. And it was really a no brainer.
So this is perfect, perfect person.
And he started and he certainly has shown that it
is his passion. So that was like kind of the
And then Melissa's just built on it with the same
passion. Like I said, we're giving our clients
these people who are passionate
bike and ped facilities, complete streets.
Awesome. Great story. There it is.
The origin story.
It was like a prequel almost
because we told the story at the end.