In June, Kansas City construction giant Black & Veatch kicked off an effort to accelerate new, innovative ideas by adopting a concept common among startups.
The Overland Park-based corporation launched the B&V Growth Accelerator, which hopes to challenge the global firm’s traditional methods of generating and launching ideas. Black & Veatch — which works with the likes of Tesla, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and KCP&L — hopes the program will tap into its entrepreneurial roots to reinvigorate its ideation process.
As the 101-year-old company continues its new journey, it’s also planning to further engage the area entrepreneurial community.
To that end, the accelerator program — led by nine engineering experts who have experience in water, telecom, power, renewables and oil and gas — is welcoming the community for an event featuring the Lean Startup Week Conference. The event on Nov. 2 hopes to unite intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs from government agencies, corporations, startups and civic organizations in their mission to create change in their industries.
Ahead of the event, Startland News caught up with a few of the Black & Veatch leaders that are driving its new innovation efforts. We asked each of the following leaders: “Why are you excited about this opportunity to interact more with the area startup community and how will help your organization?”
Roger Li, associate vice president of the B&V Growth Accelerator.
“We are proud of our company’s history and heritage, but that pride is matched by an excitement for the ways we’re looking forward. One of those ways is this chance to connect with the innovators who are joining us in pushing the boundaries of what’s possible – right here in the Kansas City area. Embracing an open, inclusive and future driven mindset is a tremendous and inspiring opportunity. We will learn from each other, and exchanges like this elevate both our local community of entrepreneurs and Black & Veatch.”
Christina Gelvin, marketing specialist that connects the accelerator with B&V’s traditional businesses.
“Every time I venture downtown, I return to the burbs with this undeniable energy, and my Moleskine notebook overflowing with newly drawn light bulbs and ideas scribbled beside them. Kansas City is so alive right now, and only gaining momentum. What a unique opportunity, to bring Black & Veatch and the KC startup communities together under one roof. Both are full of inventors, dreamers, hard workers – with this close-knit community vibe. I am excited for the conversations that will happen and connections that will be made. But most importantly, I am hopeful of the impact that our combined innovations will have — not just in Kansas City, but around the world. One idea can positively impact the lives of millions. Ultimately, that’s what I’m most excited to be a part of.”
Sam Scupham, associate vice president with the B&V Growth Accelerator.
“Black & Veatch is a critical human infrastructure company. By nature, what we do benefits the communities we work in. We’re very proud that our global company has roots in Kansas City; there are few places more fun or interesting to be in terms of new growth and culture. We’re so excited that we have this opportunity to infuse the new thinking of the start-up community to the extraordinary talent, skill and global reach of our professionals. We believe this interaction is key to developing and deploying the next generation of smarter, cleaner infrastructure.”