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Kevin Edwards is the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at Bechtel, and he recently presented at the Civil Empowerment Seminar Series put on by the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) in partnership with the CEE Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee (DEI). In his position, Edwards is responsible for developing a vision, strategic Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) roadmap, and enterprising a plan to implement key program actions to support progress in Bechtel’s DE&I efforts (Bechtel). His seminar presentation commented on the importance of DE&I in modern workplaces and how organizations can support talent from underrepresented backgrounds.

“The world is changing, and the dynamics of representation are changing, and our traditional ways of reaching out and thinking about talent really needs to change,” said Edwards. “We have to make sure we expand our reach and network and become an employer of choice on a broader spectrum of dimensions.”

Though Edwards himself is from an underrepresented background, he received assistance from several different school programs. As a young student, Edwards was involved in a Gifted and Talented Program, and before his freshman year of college, he took part in a “bridge” program, which helped him acclimate to university life before starting his undergraduate degree. These experiences helped Edwards in his education and career path. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Rutgers University, and then a master’s degree in environmental engineering from the Stevens Institute of Technology.

However, many individuals don’t have access to the same opportunities that helped Edwards. His personal experiences have assisted him in his understanding of DE&I practices and how to best help diverse groups of students reach success. Now, in his position at Bechtel, he aims to make sure that diverse talent is given the opportunities to succeed in their education journey and careers.

“Traditionally people like me would have a hard time getting out of the community and into a program where they can actually make some movement and have a particular career,” said Edwards. “Knowing the struggles and challenges that I had going through engineering allowed me to think about multiple pathways for future talent with more insight and understanding on key things they can do to be successful.”

For instance, Edwards helps facilitate Bechtel partnerships with different groups such as the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), and more. He also works on promoting Engineering Week and is the chair-elect for the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME). Edwards is passionate about approaching DE&I from a future-proof standpoint—he wants these efforts to be long lasting and sustainable.

“Not only is it about talent for us now, but it’s also about securing our future in the industry so that we have a broader reach of more talent going into STEM. We’re positioning ourselves so that Bechtel is actually leading, driving, and progressing a roadmap for DE&I,” said Edwards.



Related Articles:
Walking in Beauty, a Harmonious Approach to Engineering
Engineering Justice, Making the World a Better Place
Transportation and Equity: Connecting the Dots
No Easy Way Home

February 28, 2023


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“The world is changing, and the dynamics of representation are changing, and our traditional ways of reaching out and thinking about talent really needs to change,” said Edwards. “We have to make sure we expand our reach and network and become an employer of choice on a broader spectrum of dimensions.”

 

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