In its ideal state – the path to equity could be a fluid motion forward – a process that evolves our society into a more fair and equitable space. Unfortunately, fluidity may not always occur due to wicked problems that invariably arise or may already exist. We must be continually purposeful within this iterative process. As we step into the final weeks of 2021, I pause to reflect upon equity within our industry and re-challenge myself and our firm with the question, “What role do engineers play in bringing equity to infrastructure?”
It begins with leadership. At Lamp Rynearson, we feel that our role in integrating equity into infrastructure begins with leading with purpose. Our purpose statement, ‘Leaving a Legacy of Enduring Improvements,’ sets our infrastructural equity stage. Through an ongoing Purpose-Built Learning series, our team expands awareness for issues that impact equity and inclusion within the built environment. We combine this ever-developing knowledge with the Envision™ Rating System to establish our framework to ensure we are incorporating Equity, Social Justice, and Sustainability into our projects.
Our projects allow us to put our strategies into action – genuinely living the overarching principle of our purpose statement. This is not a singular journey. Instead, we looked to our owners, both public and private, to partner with us.
We continue with community. To truly impact equity in infrastructure, we understand the fundamental concept that we cannot lead in communities that we are not a part of. Stakeholder engagement at the onset of a project can proactively address long-term social, economic, or environmental changes that impact a community’s quality of life in ways we cannot alone.
We understand that design matters. Infrastructure is long-lasting, and projects can have a transformative impact on community neighborhoods. Every project we work on at Lamp Rynearson has an impact. By looking at projects through an equitable lens, we can ensure that design matters.
We understand that construction impacts matter. Through an equitable lens, we can proactively address and minimize negative construction impacts on the surrounding communities.
We understand that measurements matter. Building equity in infrastructure is an iterative process. By measuring project impact, we are provided a more precise understanding through critical feedback that can help us improve. By leading with purpose, we can determine ways to examine and report both anticipated changes within the quality of life resulting from a project.
“We have to be willing to embrace the full autonomy of people who are less privileged and understand that equity means making access to opportunity easier.”
― Mikki Kendall
At Lamp Rynearson, we’re expanding our thinking on equity issues to better understand how we can serve the needs within our communities. Continually asking ourselves, “What role do we play?” It starts with our thought process and understanding that equity within infrastructure can make access to opportunities less challenging. With the recent passing of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, future funding will be available to readily put those thoughts into action. This work is never done. We must be provocateurs in this conversation, continuing to innovate, and ultimately leaving a legacy.
Leading with Purpose,
Nancy Pridal, PE, ENV-SP
Lamp Rynearson President and CEO