Fifteen years ago, University of Florida accounting graduate and show dog mom Inga Young founded 8-koi on August 8th in her hometown of Melbourne, Florida. Since then, the woman-owned small business has grown to support millions of dollars in government contracts and hired hundreds of employees around the US. As a first generation American, Inga credits her success to her parents, and practices everyday gratitude for the opportunity to learn from her coworkers and peers in the industry. Design, build, staff, and supply… 8-koi offers full-spectrum contracting solutions with a human touch. See more about the EDWOSB’s capabilities in design engineering, construction, technical, and healthcare-related services.
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.Continue reading “April is Internship Awareness Month”
Sheena Heitzman’s SUV was packed with toys and gifts when she arrived at Cocoa Village on December 1st. She came dressed in the holiday spirit with her co-workers from 8-koi, Maidilia Rilo and Carlos Badillo, to deliver the load to the Great Brevard Toy Drop. Carlos channeled his best Santa under the Central Florida sun to show support for the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Charity. The gifts will be given to infants, children, and teens throughout Brevard who are in-need of a little cheer this Christmas season.
8-koi’s team of elves helped to collect the toys that were donated by other employees at the company’s three locations and by members of the community across Brevard. They worked to ensure that the goodies were delivered with care to the community event at Riverfront Park in time for the “Reverse Parade” to begin and follow the countywide route to pick up more toys.
“This was truly a team effort,” says Carlos Badillo, 8-koi’s Corporate Recruiter. “Our COO Dean Rosenquist received donations from business associates across the community and brought in a box full of toys the night before the Drop. Our engineering project coordinator Sheena did a wonderful job orchestrating the overall operation, and my fellow recruiter Maidilia was instrumental in coordinating with the Sheriff’s Office and establishing our collection point at our new headquarters building in Suntree.”
8-koi’s Melbourne and Merritt Island offices also served as collection points for the donation drive that was supported as a community initiative of the Space Coast Chapter of Women in Defense. 8-koi President Inga Young serves as the 2021-22 SCWID Board President and Sheena is Past-Treasurer.
“This was a fun endeavor and gave each and every one of us far more than we contributed. It truly captured the spirit of the season and embodied our company’s ‘human touch’ to business and to community outreach,” reflects Carlos.
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“My parents set a strong example for me,” says 8-koi Founder and President Inga I. Young. “They emigrated from China and earned advanced degrees with scholarships that eventually led them to make careers working at NASA. They met at the University of Texas in Austin where my dad was obtaining a PhD in Electrical Engineering and my mom a Master’s degree in Chemistry. I never had to pay for my education or take out a loan.”
This is the premise that guides Inga in deciding to support local scholarship funds and organizations that value education on behalf of her government contracting business. In 2021, the company gave financially to no less than four college scholarship funds and contributed to other notable local non-profits providing support to students in need of educational support.Continue reading “Students and Lifelong Learning a Priority for 8-koi, Helping Interns Startup”
With help from dedicated volunteers like 8-koi’s Project Coordinator Sheena Heitzman, Women In Defense Space Coast (WIDSC) raised $8,500 in STEM scholarships at the 4th Annual Space Coast STEM Sandbagger Invitational Golf Tournament on May 7th. The sold-out event was held at the beautiful Baytree National Golf Course in Melbourne and the 8-koi ‘A-Team’ foursome joined Sheena on the greens for some good-hearted fun in the sun.
Putting on a golf tournament is no easy task. Sheena, who is also the treasurer of SCWID’s board, arrived in the early morning hours with other volunteers to setup and greet golfers coming out to support STEM scholarships for local students.
The Women in Defense Space Coast Chapter is one of 8-koi’s sponsored community organizations. Giving back to support education and women pursuing careers in national defense is very important to our company. 8-koi President Inga Young serves as vice president of the SCWID board and 8-koi was named the 2019 SCWID STEM Business Innovator of the Year.
With our team working together and keeping their eyes on the target, twelve deserving Space Coast women will be presented with scholarships at the STEM Scholarship and Innovator Awards Presentation on Wednesday, June 23rd at the Courtyard by Marriott in Cocoa Beach with featured speaker Elaine Larsen of Larsen Motorsports.
With supply shortages affecting organizations of all sizes during the global coronavirus pandemic, 8-koi is working to protect critical community operations with KN-95 mask donations to fire departments, schools, and non-profit organizations serving the most at-risk.
Over the past six months, 8-koi has delivered thousands of masks to students, teachers, first responders, and community servants in several communities around the company’s home state and in rural New Mexico.
Last summer, when COVID-19 cases were inundating the Navajo Nation, our company sent a supply of masks to Cuba Fire Rescue to help protect the handful of dedicated volunteers answering emergency calls in several remote tribal communities on the borders of New Mexico’s designated tribal lands.
More masks were sent in January to the Sandoval County Senior Center in Cuba, NM, and to the Jemez Mountain Public Schools in Gallina, NM, where front line staff remained committed to supporting members of the indigenous population by delivering food and necessities to homebound elders and instructional materials and basic routine healthcare to isolated students in rural areas.
Closer to home and most recently in Florida, 8-koi’s Vice President of Design Engineering, Victor Diaz, personally delivered KN-95 masks in February to the Dean of Academic Affairs and Health Science’s Edward Willey at Palm Beach State College to ensure practical training could continue safely for the faculty and students of the school’s acclaimed nursing program.
Also in February, 8-koi President, Inga Young, and Chief Operating Officer, Dean Rosenquist (USAF ret.), hand-delivered masks to JROTC and Athletics students at Cocoa Beach Jr./Sr. High School, and to the Volunteers of America and Down the Road Thrift non-profit organizations in Cocoa that both provide veterans outreach services to include housing, employment, and basic needs.
John Welch, Property Manager at Veterans of America and US Air Force retiree, said the KN-95 masks “protect much better than anything else and would allow staff and veterans to get tasks done safely.”
“It is really important to me that our company give back in a meaningful way with tangible outcomes,” said Young. “We have been providing healthcare support services to our government clients on contract for a number of years and I believe that experience prepared us for this kind of critical response where it matters most.”
8-koi’s personnel have conducted advanced emergency medical training at Fort Detrick, MD, on contract since 2014 and were activated in 2020 to take temperatures for patients at overcrowded healthcare facilities in New York City. 8-koi’s contracted staff typically working directly with military and civilian patients at the Center for the Intrepid in San Antonio, TX, were temporarily transitioned to assist Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) with notifying patients of their negative COVID-19 test results during the peak of the pandemic.
The small company with just under 50 employees diversified into medical supplies and Personal Protective Equipment early in 2020 for their existing customers with no expectations for the skyrocketing demand realized from new customers reeling from the public health crisis. 8-koi’s well-established Healthcare Division, previously focused on staffing and construction services at federal medical treatment facilities like clinics at Patrick Space Force Base and Naval Air Station Jacksonville, now supplies the Indian Health Service within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services responsible for provisioning comprehensive health services to American Indians and Alaska Natives in Hawaii and Oklahoma.
“We had to learn a lot in the beginning, but we are so fortunate to have these supplies on hand and fill a need when so many lives are at stake. These donations exemplify our company’s core values of being thoughtful and dependable and represent the ‘human touch’ our team strives to deliver in service excellence every day – even at a safe distance.” says Young.
Over 1,000 KN95 masks were donated to nursing students at Palm Beach State College (PBSC) as part of the long-standing commitment CDE and 8-koi have to supporting higher education across Florida.
Victor Diaz, CDE’s Engineering Manager and Vice President of 8-koi’s Design Engineering Division, delivered the supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to the Dean of Academic Affairs and Health Sciences Edward Willey in January to help keep students safe while learning practical skills during the COVID-19 public health crisis.
“It’s really important for us to continue to nurture this well-established relationship with our academic partners in the communities where we work,” said 8-koi President Inga Young. “Not only can we assist in helping colleges grow through improvements to their physical plants, but we aim to support the students pursuing careers in critical industries like nursing and the skilled construction trades that we all depend on.”
CDE is an engineering services provider-of-choice for PBSC and has designed, constructed, and maintained facilities on several campuses over the past twenty years. The KN95 masks are one of many available items in the medical supply inventory offered by 8-koi’s Healthcare Division.
CDE and 8-koi are proud corporate partners of the Palm Beach State College Foundation and supports their vision for “a better, healthier future through equitable education.”
Do you know a STEM education innovator or a leader making STEM efforts in the community? Check out these award categories and make a nomination! Space Coast Women In Defense values individuals and businesses in the STEM fields and would like to recognize their dedication. Nominations are due Dec. 21. Good luck!