As the month of June is a time to honor GLBTQ Pride and to observe, we at Fuss & O’Neill have reflected upon why diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is an important initiative for us. In this same light, we feel it is imperative to acknowledge the continuation of senseless, brutal, and inhumane acts against people of color nationwide – most recently exemplified by the killing of George Floyd.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people want nothing more than to return to the status quo that entitles many of us to live in relative comfort. This comfort is softened by the ability to avert our gaze from injustice that Black and Brown people face on a daily basis. George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery’s deaths are an overt reminder that we must work towards a future that lives up to the utmost ideals of equity.
When I wrote Fuss & O’Neill’s Vision Statement two years ago, I envisioned then, as I do now, that we are the doctors and nurses of the natural and built environments, and that we must stand for something more than just the quality of our craft. I envisioned a culture where the better angels of our nature would fly free in and among the many relationships we have with each other and with the individuals, companies, and communities we serve. I envisioned a nearly 100-year-old company whose employees set the behavioral gold standard for thoughtfulness, understanding, and compassion when responding to the wants and needs of our society.
As engineers, planners, and scientists, we are held in a unique position of both objectivity and trust. We can make a difference when it comes to contributing to positive social change – both individually and as a company – and I believe that we must. I am asking that, together, we do more. We will be making donations to the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, Equal Justice Initiative, The Trevor Project, and GLSEN, matching employee contributions to these nonprofits that are committed to social justice for the Black and GLBTQ communities. Internally, we will continue to expand our DEI effort and foster a culture that is open to reflective dialogue.
We know that, to create change, we have to commit to the examination of our own views and actions individually and as a company. I ask each of you to join me in condemning the senseless, brutal, and inhumane violence that is yet again occurring across our nation. I ask that, as individuals and as a firm, we stand peacefully, yet unflinchingly, against hatred and violence through our behaviors, words, and actions. And to our colleagues and the communities that are hurting right now, please know that we see your pain and also your humanity. We are Fuss & O’Neill. We don’t just create works of life, we stand-up for them – we embody them.
by Kevin Grigg, PE, President and Chief Executive Officer