RVE Recognizes Black History Month 2021

This year RVE employees reflected on 2021 Black History Month’s theme of “Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity.”

Vanessa Nedrick, PE, MSEM, Senior Associate, Regional Manager, Water Resources Department Head, reflected on the role of work and family. “My husband, children and family see how hard I work on a daily basis, especially during the pandemic with working at home. This hard work led to my success and making history at RVE. As the first African American female in Senior Management in RVE’s 120-year history, this is a huge accomplishment and responsibility. It is my responsibility to show my family and other black families that minorities can and should be represented in all forms of management, no matter the field. We are not less than, but equally deserving of anything we put our minds to accomplish. I hope that I am a role model to my children, my children’s children, etc. to show what a survivor and perseverance looks like.”

For Caroline Taylor, Executive Assistant, her struggles and successes have contributed to her family. “Being a single mother of my son, I would hope that he and my family have seen my struggles, appreciated my sacrifices and learned from my mistakes and my successes. I have always taught my son to be proud to be a Black American and to wear that honor with pride.”

Hasson Shipman NICET IV, ACI, Municipal Department Chief Inspector, shows his support and contributes to the Black community by how he represents himself. “Most importantly, I feel I contribute to my community by how I represent myself as a Black man and how I raise my kids. I feel strongly that my character and how I raise my children is a reflection of me. The strongest contribution I feel I can provide to my community is being a positive, hardworking father of two, a man of integrity whose character contradicts the ignorant stereotypes some have of Black men.”

As a child, K. Wendell Bibbs, PE, CME, Executive Vice President, Regional Manager, had a passion for engineering, even if he didn’t know it. “…I was always interested in how things worked. My parents still tease me about how curious I was, and how I would ‘tear up my toys’ so I could see how they worked. I tell them that they misunderstood what I was doing, and it’s actually called ‘reverse engineering’…Once I learned that engineering was essentially applied science, and that I did not really need to use all the math and science every day, that’s when I became interested in the field of engineering. I chose Civil Engineering specifically because I was able to observe actual construction processes and methodology, as well as physically see the impact or improvement my work efforts have on the public.”

To Crystal-Gayle Montague, HR Employee Engagement Specialist, Black History Month is “…the month that reminds us all, whether or not one recognizes it, that Black people accomplished and contributed to the educational, scientific, and social justice fabric of the country. To me, it’s more than just a month of Black recognition, it’s the month that reminds all that Black people play a major part in the makeup of this world just as every other race does and for that we are here to stay and thrive.”

Senior Electrical Engineering Technician, Kavan Smith, EIT, didn’t always aspire to pursue a degree in engineering. “When I was younger, I wanted to become a doctor; however, I quickly realized the enormous expense would be too much for my parents to handle and I settled for engineering. I do not regret becoming an Electrical Engineer, but this is a factual statement on how I stumbled into engineering. Engineering involves observing a problem, then designing strategies to solve that problem. It is the process of observing a complex problem, then analyzing, strategizing, planning, and calculating solutions to that problem on paper to finally achieve an approximate solution in reality. This is what made me fall in love with engineering.”