McKissack & McKissack, one of the nation’s leading Black- and woman-owned architecture, engineering and construction companies, today announced the addition of two new members to its national leadership team in its Washington, D.C., office: Lisa Edmonds as vice president of human resources and Nijah Barley as director of information technology. Each brings noteworthy core competencies and experience to the company as it undergoes unprecedented growth.
“I am excited about Lisa and Nijah because they will apply deep expertise and fresh perspectives to two of the most important aspects of our company’s strategic growth—our supportive people-oriented culture and our robust information technology infrastructure,” said Deryl McKissack, president, and CEO of McKissack & McKissack.
“We’ve been growing quickly at McKissack and expect to maintain that momentum because of the infrastructure act, so we need Lisa for her depth of knowledge and deep networking skills to help us recruit top-notch talent. McKissack is a great place to work, and Lisa has the skillset and strategic acumen bring that message to a new pool of talent and optimize our staffing process,” McKissack noted.
“I expect Nijah to make a major impact at our company too. He’s incredibly creative and always thinking out-of-the-box to find better ways to serve us and our clients. He approaches every challenge with such positivity. His mantra is always ‘I can figure it out, I can help you’—and he always does just that,” she added.
Lisa Edmonds: Combining HR and legal background to support talent acquisition strategies
Edmonds brings to McKissack more than two decades of human resources experience, most recently as human resource manager/benefits administrator of engineering and design firm Gibbs & Cox Inc. “Lisa is a welcome addition to our team for many reasons, but what stood out to me initially is the fact that she understands the mindset of engineers and designers,” said McKissack. “Even though we are known for our fulfilling and inclusive culture, we are a national company with professionals from many different fields and all walks of life on staff. Her expertise in so many aspects of our expansive industry will help us strengthen and support all members of our diverse team.”
Edmonds has also studied HR and employment law, which McKissack sees as another strength. “We work in several states. They all have different approaches legally on human resources, so someone who knows these intricacies and can anticipate our needs in all settings is a key addition to our team,” McKissack pointed out.
Edmonds said, “So much of HR revolves around employment law, beginning with the recruitment process. And once someone is here, we need to make sure that we as a company are doing things the right way.”
With McKissack expanding into new sectors and growing the depth and breadth of its project portfolio, Edmonds noted, “Our main priority is recruitment and development of impressive and accomplished talent. And once we recruit that talent, we want them to stay. Retaining new talent and the great employees we already have is critical to our growth and ultimately the success of everything we do. So, we’re going to support all team members with training and development that will refine or deepen their skillsets. Our goal is to build on the culture that is already established at McKissack, which is humble, hungry and smart.”
Edmonds holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Capella University in Minneapolis as well as a master’s in legal studies from Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law in Phoenix. She is certified as a Group Benefits Administrator, a Senior Professional in Human Resources and a Project Management Professional (PMP). She lives in South Maryland with her husband.
Edmonds said, “I came to work with McKissack because I was impressed with the leadership, I was impressed with the growth, and I was really impressed with the history. I was impressed with how the company started and where it’s going. I had been with my previous employer for 10 years and I’m hoping to exceed that timeframe at McKissack. It’s a company that represents achievement, especially for women and minorities, and I hope to strengthen its reputation with great accomplishments while I’m here.”
Nijah Barley is bringing amplified tech experience back to the MWBE where he started
Barley is a seasoned IT expert with a track record of implementing new technologies and systems to improve company productivity and profit. His new position is a homecoming. He began his career at McKissack after graduating college, supporting the firm’s increasingly progressive IT systems to sustain cutting edge developments in program management and construction management, architecture and engineering.
After four years at McKissack, Barley moved to the Washington office of McKinsey & Co., where he spent three years working with teams around the world and learning largescale enterprise systems. His was there during the Covid-19 pandemic and helped transition 1,500 colleagues to virtual options for the shift to work-from-home. Throughout, he kept in touch with former colleagues and his mentor, McKissack’s former V.P. of IT Andrew Corn.
“McKissack was much more than just a job; the team and Deryl are my family. When I went to McKinsey, it was always with the intention that I would return someday to bring back what I learned,” he said. “I knew that I needed to learn, have exposure to other industries and develop a broader skillset to bring back different tools and a growth mindset.”
Now that he oversees McKissack’s IT department, he plans to build on the company’s existing cloud infrastructure to not only maximize productivity but also embrace vanguard technologies as they emerge. Priorities include innovation, cybersecurity and adhering to industry best practice. “I’m looking to increase the odds of our success for the work we try to win and make sure that the work we’re putting forward is gold-star standard and leaves a lasting impression with clients,” he said.
Barley, who’s originally from Brooklyn and now lives in Silver Spring, Md., graduated from Howard University in Washington with a bachelor’s degree. While a student, he worked on Howard’s IT support desk. He recalled, “I’ll never forget the day when I walked in for my first interview at McKissack & McKissack. I was just astounded by a fellow Howard University grad, Deryl McKissack, having an office in downtown D.C. and being the founder and CEO of such a thriving business with so much history. That has always stuck with me.”