8-koi Honored with HIRE Vets Gold Medallion for Second Year in a Row

On November 9th, 8-koi was officially recognized during a virtual ceremony as a Gold Medallion Awardee for the Honoring Investments in Recruiting and Employing American Military Veterans (HIRE Vets) Medallion Program by U.S. Secretary of Labor Martin J. Walsh. The HIRE Vets Medallion Award is earned by businesses that demonstrate unparalleled commitment to attracting, hiring and retaining veterans.

In 2022, 8-koi is one of a total of 835 organizations across the United States that received awards. Implemented by the requirements of the HIRE Vets Act of 2017 (Public Law 115-31), the HIRE Vets Medallion Award is the only federal award recognizing exceptional achievement in veteran employment. By meeting the criteria required for a Gold Medallion Award, 8-koi “demonstrated both patriotism and recognition of the value veterans bring to the workplace.”

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8-koi Receives Patent for Military Approved Bollard System

The US Patent Office issued Patent No. US 11,319,681 B2 to 8-koi on May 3, 2022 for a bollard system invented by 8-koi VP of Construction Otto Herrera. The patent application for the physical security device used to restrict vehicular movement was filed August 6, 2020 in response to a DoD customer’s request for a solution to their force protection.

“Their fancy hydraulic traffic retractable bollard system was inoperable because of built up debris and muck within the mechanism. I couldn’t fix the existing problem, nor could the manufacturer, but I thought a simpler retractable system could serve the same purpose,” says Otto. “I proposed a conceptional system with a cardboard model to test the basic functionality for a customer demonstration and they greenlighted it.”

Otto went to work to complete the design and fabricate a full-sized prototype to install and test. The total cost for the first unit is a tremendous cost savings when compared to the dysfunctional barrier system that was installed, not inclusive of the time lost and the associated labor required to maintain the original system.

8-koi’s patented OttoBollardTM deployed at secure facility

The simple OttoBollardTM design is made to be permanently installed, stowed in place, easily maintained, and operated manually to replace more complicated and expensive hydraulic traffic control systems. It is designed to give property owners the choice of how and when they change protection levels and or traffic patterns. As an example of maintainability, 8-koi’s OttoBollardTM was easily repaired and made ready for service with minimal downtime the same day following impact.

Applications include property egress paths, facility egress paths, civic meeting places, and roads and other similar locations where bollard systems are not to be permanently installed and there is a need to modify or change potential traffic patterns. The OttoBollardTM eliminates off site storage of temporary bollards or other similar systems when not in use. The OttoBollardTM reduces recurring costs of transport, manpower, rental, and deployment.

8-koi’s patented OttoBollardTM in the secured position

“Our patented bollard is a simple system that is quick to deploy, operates without electricity or hydraulics, requires no storage, and works in all weather conditions,” says 8-koi President Inga Young. “We are looking forward to targeting sales to municipalities for secure event areas like sports arenas, stadiums, and parks to help with crowd control and hopefully avoid tragic public safety disasters such as the recent parade crashing events we see on the news.”

A woman-owned company, 8-koi currently supports design engineering and construction contracts with public and private organizations to include Eastern Florida State College, Daytona State College, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, and Army Corps of Engineers among others. See more construction capabilities.

DOWNLOAD OttoBollardTM sales flyer PDF.

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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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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