While February is recognized as Black History Month, RK&K is proud to champion the community’s culture, achievement, and history throughout the year.
In recent years, RK&K was a key partner in projects that championed the Black community and notable leaders who helped make a difference in their communities. Some of these projects include:
- Our Site Development and Healthy Communities teams reimagined an on-campus plaza to honor the life and work of Fanny Jackson Coppin at Coppin State University.
- As the Engineer of Record, we provided comprehensive services for the award-winning Senator Margaret Rose Henry Bridge in Delaware, named after the first Black woman elected to the Delaware State Senate.
- Our Cultural Resources archaeologists unlocked stories of a historically Black community in Baltimore that was displaced during urban renewal in the 1970s.
- Our Site Development team provided design services for Towson University’s National Pan-Hellenic Council Tribute Walkway which honors the school’s historically Black fraternities and sororities.
- We provided program management services for the new Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge in Washington, DC. A project Mayor Muriel Bowser commended for “connecting a historically underserved community to jobs and prosperity.”
Engineer Kayla Cash described the importance of equity in projects and how it benefits clients.
“Equity is embedded within RK&K’s core values of creative solutions. Teamwork can only prosper once diversity is established,” she said. “Different backgrounds, expertise, and strengths help drive the purpose of equity. Our clients are rewarded but also our communities because they are directly impacted by our work.”
Cash said she studied civil engineering to help people and her fascination with transportation design helped influence her career path.
“One of Garrett A. Morgan’s (a prominent Black businessperson and innovator) notable inventions was a patented traffic signal. Because of his inventions and yearning to help people, he created something that would be utilized 100 years later. His contribution to society was one of the many influences on Black engineers today,” she added.
Associate Engineer Richard Kapungu, PE said his inspiration to become an engineer came from the late-Julius Kambarage Nyerere, an activist who fought apartheid and was the first president of modern Tanzania.
“(Nyerere’s) words ‘if real development is to take place, the people have to be involved,’” Kapungu said. “I figured engineering, especially in underprivileged communities, is a good way to bridge the technical gap, and allow for innovation within the community.”
Both noted how gratifying it was to be a part of projects that created positive impacts on minority communities.
“I was part of a project that consisted of safety evaluations for 12 locations with the highest crash locations. All 12 sites were in Prince George’s County, which is 64% Black and 20% Hispanic. As a Black woman emerging in traffic engineering, my contribution to increasing safety in this community was extremely satisfying,” Cash said.
“I was part of a bridge replacement project in Winston Salem, North Carolina. The city is 35% Black and 18% Hispanic. I was glad to be able to contribute to the project as transportation infrastructure is vital for overall welfare,” Kapungu added.
RK&K is committed to ensuring an environment free of discrimination and racial bias that welcomes, respects, develops, and leverages our individual differences. You can learn more about our commitment to DE&I here.