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Baltimore’s Top Workplaces, large No. 3: KCI’s work and culture focuses on the community

Community service has always been at the forefront of the culture at KCI, a Sparks-based engineering, consulting and construction firm. Employees support families in need throughout the year and raise more than $150,000 annually for the United Way and an employee-selected charity.

But this fall, KCI made giving back even easier with its “Day of Service” — eight hours of paid time off specifically for volunteering.

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“KCI has many different ways that they give back to the community, but there was no direct way of harnessing that,” said Brian Crowell, a practice leader for KCI’s power engineering department and part of Emerging Leaders, a KCI leadership development group that suggested the idea. “We wanted to provide more opportunities for people to go out and donate their time cleaning streams or going to a food bank.”

That commitment to community service is one of the many reasons employees say they enjoy working for KCI.

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Founded in 1955 and 100% employee-owned since 1998, KCI has more than 55 offices in 20 states and Washington, D.C.

About a third of KCI’s nearly 1,800 employees work in the Baltimore area. Projects center on transportation, telecommunications, utilities and the environment. For example, KCI is preparing mobile cellular units for the 2021 presidential inauguration and provided construction management services for the removal of the Bloede Dam along the Patapsco River in Catonsville.

Along with paid time off to volunteer, KCI offers employees 40 hours a year for training and professional development classes, flexible schedules, a wellness program that includes walking challenges and yoga classes, and tuition reimbursement.

The firm also supports teachers and future engineers and works to foster equality, diversity and inclusion. This summer, KCI partnered with the Maryland Chamber of Commerce on a three-week teacher externship program, said Nate Beil, KCI’s president and CEO. During the program, a Baltimore City high school teacher shadowed several KCI employees — an experience she then shared with her students.

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“It’s all within our value system,” Beil said.

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