Why Hustle Will Always Beat Brains

female engineer working on laptop
Photo credit: navee/Adobe Stock

I wish I’d known the value of diversity when I opened my own business. I started what is now known as Ardmore Roderick in Chicago in 2005. I was just 29 years old.

Over the first decade in running my business, I came to realize that I could help the next crop of civil engineers get started as well. I could help shape what those engineers would look like in an industry that is still mostly run by white men. I could provide young, diverse engineers with opportunities for growth and advancement.

I started to recruit from outside the major schools in the Midwest, where most engineering firms in our region sought new employees. Instead, we turned to HBCUs — historically Black colleges and universities — such as Florida A&M University, Tuskegee University, and Howard University. We sought out people who had found nontraditional ways of entering our industry.

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