Large workplace | No. 3: KCI Technologies Inc.

Special to The Baltimore Sun

It takes just six months of working at KCI Technologies for eligible employees to join the ownership plan. The company is 100 percent employee-owned, and that’s no small thing — one longtime staffer recently retired with an extra $1 million.

The engineering firm has four main markets: transportation, water, utilities and site facilities. It is headquartered in Sparks in Baltimore County, with three other offices in the area, the combined staff making up about one-third of the company’s 1,500-person workforce.

KCI’s empowerment of its employees extends to the company’s board of directors; staff members elect one of the nine full voting members. A transparency policy means workers can access financial, operational and strategic information.

And the firm continues to invest in training and workforce development to help employees grow their skills and potentially advance.

“We think that everybody should function as best as they can as top performers in their existing job,” said Nate Beil, KCI’s president and CEO. “We also have an obligation to prepare you for a promotion should you want it.”

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Nick Barrick has benefited from that approach. He started at the company as an intern surveyor 15 years ago and is now a regional practice leader.

“KCI has allowed me to work my way up by providing the opportunities,” he said. “There are other firms where you’re really pigeonholed, only doing the stormwater management or grading. Here I’ve witnessed whole projects from start to finish, networking with other groups and managers, and becoming more well-rounded as an engineer.”

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