Kimberly Moore is embracing young girls in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
Moore is the founder of KDM Engineering located in Chicago, IL’s West Jackson Boulevard neighborhood. The venture is described as an engineering consulting firm aimed at primary distribution design, telecommunications, natural gas, and project management, according to its website.
Moore’s exposure to a field composed of very few Black women was nurtured as a child when she would be encouraged to place curtains on walls or help set up televisions for family members, per the Chicago Sun-Times. While attending Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, she shined as a math and science student and went on to obtain a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at Northern Illinois University (NIU) — and later a master’s in sound engineering.
At the start of her career in electrical engineering, Moore soon learned that there was a lack of female representation. In fact, she recalls they did not even have a women’s bathroom in her workplace.
“There was no women’s bathroom in the trailer that they had for the design engineering team because there were no women on the team before I got there,” Moore told Chicago Sun-Times. “They had just converted both bathrooms to be men’s bathrooms.”
Moore continued to remain persistent in her job post, moving up the corporate ladder, even helping to create a utilities department, until she reached a standstill.
“We became the company’s No. 1 revenue generator, but it did not equate in terms of salary and bonus,” Moore explained to the outlet. “And I realized that I could do this exact thing for myself.”
In 2009, Moore launched KDM Engineering with few loans or investors. It would take three years for the firm to obtain its first contract, and in 2015 it had become a main contractor for energy provider ComEd.
Today, the firm is overseeing over 1,000 power infrastructure projects in Illinois and has worked with clients such as T-Mobile and Crown Castle to scale 5G around the Chicago area. What’s more, KDM Engineering is bringing in more than $15 million in annual revenue.
“She effectively has bootstrapped herself to be a pivotal person in the field,” Moore’s mentor David Schwartz, a retired business executive, told Chicago Sun-Times. “The only help that she got was from some advisers like myself who were absolutely drawn to her conviction. …She could grow five times if she wanted to.”
While Moore is setting the tone for Black women in STEM, she is also passing on the baton to the youth. She established the Calculated Genius nonprofit in 2016, which is housed in the firm’s office.
Current initiatives include a “STEMinist” scholarship geared toward young women and summer programs for public schools in the state. The organization has provided students in STEM with $295,000 in scholarships so far. It is also currently in the process of recruiting 150 high school and college students into internships with an end goal of providing career pathways into the STEM field.