CDE’s Kyle Findlater Earns P.E.

Inspired by the hit television series “Prison Break,” CDE’s Kyle Findlater chose to pursue a career in structural engineering and successfully earned his Professional Engineering License from the State of Florida on July 1st, 2022. “After watching Michael Scofield apply structural engineering principles to break his brother out of the prison he designed, I knew that was the specialty I wanted to pursue,” Kyle muses.

Though being highly motivated, but not having a falsely imprisoned brother to free, Kyle admits his journey to be a Professional Engineer was not an easy road to walk. “I struggled to get back the motivation to study,” Kyle says after his first P.E. exam was cancelled in April 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. “I had spent the six months prior studying intensely and working practice problems. It was very frustrating and deflating.”

As disappointing as it was, I immediately jumped back in and rescheduled my test…

His next opportunity to test came in October 2021 when he sat for the last paper-and-pencil version of the P.E. exam before they switched to a standard computer-based exam. “Several weeks later, I received a failing result. As disappointing as it was, I immediately jumped back in and rescheduled my test for April 2022.” This time he passed.

“I then had to fill out the P.E. licensure application by gathering my work history and professional engineering references to be validated by the Florida Board of Professional Engineers. A few weeks later after going before the FBPE committee, I was granted my P.E. License,” Kyle proudly explains of the process.

Kyle Findlater, P.E.

Kyle joined CDE in July 2021 and now serves as the lead designer and project manager for the structural engineering department. Prior to CDE, Kyle’s work experience included three years in residential structures with Apex Technology and three years in marine structures with JACOBS.

My biggest career highlight so far has definitely been achieving my Professional Engineering License…

“A few of my favorite projects have been the Chem Lab Chiller Plant Building, Area 57 West Building 50801 Crane Evaluation, and King Center Speaker Support Beam Upgrades,” he says, “but my biggest career highlight so far has definitely been achieving my Professional Engineering License.”

A first-generation American, Kyle was born in New York after his parents emigrated from Jamaica, but he’s called Florida home ever since his family moved to Palatka when he was young. Kyle went on to attend the University of Florida where he received his bachelor’s in civil engineering and met his wife, Nureka, who was a nursing student from Jamaica. They have a lively young daughter and enjoy family travel and trips to the beach.

When asked about his future, Kyle says he’s focused on honing his design skills so he can eventually mentor and teach other young engineers. “My advice for aspiring P.E.’s would be to find great mentors and take your P.E. exam as close to your schooling as possible because it will be harder to re-learn how to study and prepare for a test of this magnitude if you wait.”

As for Kyle’s mentors who helped him along the way, “I would like to thank Jesse Dayhoff, P.E. with Apex Technology, Gary Ledford, P.E. with JACOBS, Josh Smith, P.E. formally with CDE, and currently Rob Sullivan, P.E. and Lutfi Mized, P.E. with CDE for their mentorship.”

Please join us all at CDE and 8-koi in congratulating Kyle on his well-deserved accomplishment of becoming a licensed Professional Engineer. You can connect with Kyle on LinkedIn.

8-koi Celebrates 14 Years on August 8th

“Often one finds one’s destiny just where one hides to avoid it.”

-Chinese Proverb

After years of helping other businesses succeed as a DCAA-compliant contract accountant, Inga Young was fueled by her inquisitive nature and desire to be different to start her own company, one where she could do better than others and offer an easier and more efficient option to the government.

She reflected in her thoughts about the start of her entrepreneurial journey while enjoying the peaceful company of gracefully swimming fish at her favorite koi pond. In watching the fluid motion of the koi in quiet surroundings, Inga was inspired to dive-in to the next chapter in her life.

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Carlos Badillo to Lead 8-koi Veterans Employee Resource Group

In a memo from 8-koi COO Dean Rosenquist (USAF ret.) dated June 14, 8-koi’s Corporate Recruiter Carlos Badillo was formally recognized as the Program Manager for the newly established Veterans Employee Resource Group (VERGe).

The memo states that the VERGe initiative helps to “codify a framework attracting, hiring, retaining, nurturing and developing veterans within our organization” and was written on the date that celebrates both Flag Day and the birthday of the US Army as a symbolic gesture to commemorate the impact of our veterans throughout our nation’s history.

Carlos is a veteran of both the US Navy and the US Army and has concentrated his expertise in talent acquisition to help 8-koi strategize an approach to making the company a veteran employer of choice. Under Carlos’ direction, 8-koi was able to advance related policy and programming that garnered the HIRE Vets Gold Medallion recognition received in November 2021.

Carlos Badillo, 8-koi Corporate Recruiter and Veterans Employee Resource Group Program Manager

“As a service-disabled veteran, myself, and a product of the Vocational Rehabilitation and Education program, I am a direct beneficiary of such partnership efforts between government and industry,” says Carlos. “I see the intrinsic value.”

“Carlos’ work to establish this employee resource group for 8-koi will help us to leverage some of industry’s emerging best practices to provide the resources for not only attracting our future team members, but also to continue to evolve our collective employee labor experience,” says Dean Rosenquist.

Headquartered on Florida’s Space Coast near NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and Patrick Space Force Base, 8-koi is part of a larger ‘Great American Defense Community’ that is actively working towards creating a more supportive environment for veterans and active-duty families to live and work in Brevard County. In April this year, Hiring Our Heroes designated Florida’s Space Coast as a Military Spouse Economic Empowerment Zone (MSEEZ). 8-koi has been a member of the Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP) since February 2018.

8-koi Founder Inga Young serves as President of the Women In Defense Space Coast Chapter, and the company participates in DoD Skillbridge and the Veterans at Work program with the Society of Human Resource Management. 8-koi and subsidiary Cape Design Engineering (CDE) currently employ about a dozen veterans and military spouses in total.

The objectives of the 8-koi Veterans Employee Resource Group include the following:

  • Enhance awareness and increase access to career opportunities for veteran job seekers
  • Facilitate and enhance transition from military service to corporate environment by helping to remove barriers, mitigating challenges, and maximizing opportunities
  • Provide professional and “life coaching” and mentoring to our veteran employees
  • Foster communication and collaboration between veteran employees, their colleagues and the leadership of our company
  • Help to identify technical, industry, and community service resources available to veterans

Carlos will be working with a team to develop internal and external resources for the VERGe to include an internal channel for employees to find and engage with veterans’ support assets as well as an external promotional campaign to help to position the company as a veteran and military friendly contractor in the eyes of potential candidates and customers.

Reflecting on his employment with 8-koi that he started in September 2021, Carlos says, “8-koi has seen the value in me not just as an employee, but as a whole person. They have welcomed me with open arms and always encourage me to tap into my fullest potential. This exemplifies the company’s value of thoughtfulness to provide full-spectrum solutions with a ‘human touch.’  The establishment of the VERGe is just another example of our company translating ideals and intent into action.” 

View more about 8-koi careers for veterans and military spouses at https://www.8-koi.com/careers/

8-koi Supports Opening of NASA Lunabotics Competition Arena at Kennedy Space Center

The NASA Lunabotics Competition Arena is open for the first time to students after a two-year delay caused by the COVID-19 public health emergency. Designed and constructed in 2019 by 8-koi, the Lunabotics Artemis Arena at Kennedy Space Center in Florida serves as the venue for the fourth and final competition event of the year-long challenge. Lunabotics challenges college and university teams of students from across the United Sates in a full-on engineering exercise where participants receive practical experience in the full engineering lifecycle process from concept development to system closeout.

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8-koi Named to University of Florida 2022 Gator100

8-koi was named to the University of Florida’s 2022 Gator100 during a ceremony on April 22 in the Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center on UF’s campus.

Each year, the Gator100 recognizes the world’s fastest-growing Gator businesses owned or led by UF alumni. Ernst & Young, independent accounting firm of the Gator100 since the program began in 2015, verifies financial information submitted by each company and calculates the rankings based on compound annual growth rate over the past three years. The 2022 honorees have a cumulative revenue of $3.9B.

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April is Internship Awareness Month

8-koi and CDE are celebrating Internship Awareness Month by recognizing our hard-working student employees, some of whom have gone on to be full-time permanent members of our team. According to the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM), the retention rate of hired interns is higher than other entry-level employees. 

“These young people are a highly valuable asset to our success and longevity,” says company President Inga Young. “It’s important to help shape the next generation of professionals by allowing them to contribute in meaningful ways while imparting our core values of passion, excellence, dependability, and thoughtfulness.” 

“Internships are not meant to be free help. They are not meant to replace an employee. And they shouldn’t be used for busy work.” 

Roy Mauer, SHRM

At 8-koi and CDE, this guidance is definitely taken to heart. Below you will read more about our exceptional interns and student employees who play and have played a significant role in helping to meet company objectives while also honing their skills to be top-notch business leaders in their own rights. 

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8-koi Names Robert M. Sullivan, P.E. as Vice President, Engineering Division

Robert Sullivan is a Licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Florida who enthusiastically accepted the position of Vice President for 8-koi’s Engineering Division, effective March 11th. In this leadership position, Robert will be taking the lead for current and future projects at Cape Design Engineering Co. (CDE), a wholly-owned subsidiary of 8-koi.

Robert joins the team in Merritt Island with over forty years of experience as an innovator in the fields of capital project contracts management, civil environmental, structural, and construction engineering, planning, forensics, emergency and reconstruction management, expert litigation support, and safety.

With over 25 years of service with the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department FEMA response team, Florida Task Force One (FL-TF1), Robert’s work as a Structural Specialist with this international response rescue team has been integral in the development of his operations management skill set to include accurate rapid assessment and detailed analysis to achieve mission-critical goals when time and resources are not always optimum.

“Robert brings a high level of industry expertise and keen understanding of senior/executive management to 8-koi and CDE. His multi-disciplinary experience and background in Earned Value Analysis (EVA) will be an asset to growing our Design Engineering capability for years to come,” stated Dean Rosenquist, 8-koi’s Chief Operating Officer.

With a portfolio that includes work on special capital projects related to construction of unique buildings/facilities, airport and airfield upgrades, harbor dredging, environmental and hazardous waste system upgrades, value engineering, roadway and bridge transportation project management, Robert will be tasked with aligning business development strategy to CDE’s in-demand capabilities.

“My motivation and motto is: Plan the Work – Work the Plan,” says Robert. “I’m really looking forward to making the most of the next chapter in my career with this dynamic small business.”

Please help us welcome Robert to the Team and be sure to connect with him on LinkedIn to learn more about his work.