Kush Vashee, PE, CAPM, ENV SP, M.ASCE
Let's dive into my story! I spent my childhood in a small town in Zambia, a beautiful country in sub-Saharan Africa. Growing up there was a unique experience, and it gave me a perspective that only folks from developing nations can truly understand. In Zambia, we couldn't take electricity for granted, with just a quarter of the country having access to it, and only 14% of power making it to the national grid. So, frequent power cuts were the norm, thanks to efforts to manage the load and stabilize power demand. This meant studying by candlelight and becoming a pro at creative problem-solving to get things done.
My parents were big on education, making it our number one priority. They ran a dairy farm and worked tirelessly to ensure I had the chance to go to college. Those experiences and my upbringing shaped my values and who I am today.
From a young age, I had a burning curiosity to understand how things worked. I'd take stuff apart just to put them back together. That curiosity, coupled with a knack for STEM subjects, made engineering an obvious choice for me when it came time to choose a major. In 2012, at the tender age of 17, I packed my bags and headed across the Atlantic to the United States, landing at Virginia Tech. I chose VT because of its solid engineering program and because the small-town feel of Blacksburg, Virginia reminded me of my hometown. In college, I was introduced to the many branches of civil engineering, and I found my passion in Transportation Engineering. The deteriorating roads in my home country and the challenges they posed for my community inspired me to work towards building and maintaining safe infrastructure to connect people and resources.
Now, I'm working as a Project Delivery Manager at Rummel, Klepper & Kahl in the Highway Division. RK&K is a top-notch firm known for teamwork, excellence, and quality. In my role, I get to make a real impact on the communities I work and live in, ensuring public health and safety.
When I'm not working, I'm all about giving back. I volunteer with organizations like ASCE and ASHE, which allow me to connect with like-minded individuals and contribute to my community and future generations. These organizations have also given me the chance to develop leadership skills, time management, and public speaking, not to mention some great friendships. My journey from a small Zambian town to a career in transportation engineering in the U.S. has been guided by the belief that improving infrastructure can change lives and connect people to the resources they need.
MY CORE VALUES
I believe in taking accountability and I have strong morals that compel me to do what's right, no matter who is watching.
I choose to put others first and seek to build others up rather than myself. Cognizant that I got where I am because of the work of others as much as my own.
Listening and understanding other peoples perspectives is something I value highly. Treat learning as a life long journey, it never ends.
I stand for people without safe infrastructure, and people whose lives have already been impacted by poor policy and leadership.