Founder of Orlando engineering firm hoping to help bring diversity to construction industry - WESH 2 Orlando Founder of Orlando engineering firm hoping to help bring diversity to construction industry - WESH 2 Orlando
Kerri Daniels

Founder of Orlando engineering firm hoping to help bring diversity to construction industry - WESH 2 Orlando

February 23, 2023

Ardmore Roderick President and CEO Rashod Johnson PE, MBA Appeared on Orlando’s WESH 2 News to Discuss Bringing Diversity to the Construction Industry. You may view the full interview by clicking on the image below.

ORLANDO, Fla. — Ardmore Roderick is one of the up-and-coming construction companies in the U.S.

They’ve worked on projects like highways, water systems, office buildings, and ball fields.

The president and founder is Rashod Johnson.

His goal since the beginning has been to create a space for men and women who look like him, in the field of engineering.

“I had an idea, I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I wanted to grow into one of the world class engineering and construction companies in America,” Johnson said.

Roderick and Johnson plan to reshape the construction industry.

The first major project they tackled in Central Florida was Terminal C at Orlando International Airport.

What started 18 years ago in the attic of Johnson’s home in Chicago has led him to Orlando International Airport’s new Terminal C, where Roderick was a sub.

“We worked for the contractor doing all the construction. We were a subconsultant. That was really our way into Florida. We were able to grow that opportunity into one where we are working in multiple areas. Both the airport, schools, Osceola County,” Johnson said.

While he’s grateful for that opportunity, Johnson’s not satisfied being a subcontractor.

“One of the challenges for African American-owned firms is that we are often seen as minority subs. We are fulfilling a percentage. We need to think bigger. It’s time for us to really understand we have the same capacity. We have the same processes,” Johnson said. “We have the same people. The same qualifications to go after a lot of this work as a prime. Rather than ask for twenty percent of the work, ask for 100% of the work because we have the capacity, capability, qualifications to do it.”

Johnson’s company is working on projects on the Space Coast, Osceola County, and Orange County.

But what’s he’s most excited about right now is being named the project management team developing the Obama Presidential Center and Library in Chicago.

“We are managing all the construction, engineering, design, and keeping everything on scope, schedule, and budget for the whole project. It’s very exciting,” Johnson said.

Johnson’s leadership in Central Florida for the last decade is making an impact.

Culminating with winning the African American Chamber of Commerce’s Eagle Award, the top prize, in 2020.

And that achievement just fuels his fire.

“What we decided was, three years ago at Ardmore Roderick, was we were going to form the next national firm. The same national firms that are doing work across the country, there’s going to be one and it’s going to be African American owned. There’s not one African American owned national engineering construction company in 2023. We’ve put on our radar that we are going to do what we can do, to be the first,” Johnson said.

The firm does outreach, volunteering in the communities where they work and helping shape smaller companies.

But most importantly, they are in high schools, working to recruit the future, and showing them it can be done.

“So one of the things that I make sure that we do is show everybody we have a diversified firm. Sixty percent of our firm is diverse, in an industry where (there’s) only 15% diversity. It’s deliberate because I also believe what you can’t see. I try to be open in communities,” Johnson said. “I actually go to the schools, I actually live where there is diversity. I can continue to show and inspire the next crop of young African American children that they can be on top of whatever industry they decide to be in.”

WESH 2 asked him the type of legacy he hopes to leave for his daughter and people around him.

“I want to show her that anything you decide to do, you can do. Oftentimes we limit ourselves in terms of what some of our dreams are, and I actually believe that we are going to be the next national engineering construction firm with billions of dollars in revenue, and I started in my attic,” Johnson said. “I want to give her the opportunity, not necessarily to follow me, but to do whatever it is she dreams she can do, at whatever larger scale she feels she can do it, and know that her daddy was able to do the same.”


First published on February 22, 2023 / 11:41 PM EST, WESH 2 News