LTK President Dominic DiBrito presents
Louis T. Klauder scholarship to Edith Tapia.
LTK Engineering Services has never forgotten its roots, or its humble beginnings.
When Louis T. Klauder founded LTK in 1921, it was a small firm built on a solid business foundation. Mr. Klauder took advantage of the early opportunities he received, and his business – and reputation for good work – grew over the years. So it’s not surprising that today, LTK considers “giving back” to be an important part of its business philosophy. The firm maintains a strong corporate commitment to diversity, both in our own work force and in the selection of subconsultants as partners for projects.
LTK has a long history of recruiting and working with minority businesses, and enjoys long-standing relationships with over 30 Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs). This practice and process builds strong local ties in the community and promotes local business. LTK has also been an active supporter of various affirmative action programs, including the participation of Minority and Women Business Enterprises for well-over three decades.
Edith Tapia who works for Raul V. Bravo Associates, a minority-owned engineering firm that has partnered with LTK in the past, says it is important for DBEs to get a seat at the table.
“It’s huge,” she said. “Initially, [companies] may look at a DBE to fulfill minimum percentage requirements, or to try them out. We have been there. But on most of our jobs, we are called in not because we are a DBE, but because of the work we have previously done. Having the DBE certification is just a plus to fulfill the contract requirements. Something I’ve noticed in the past 5 to 8 years is that clients are calling us because of our reputation. I hope we can keep growing, not only in size but in the type of work that we do. Personally, I’d like to get involved more in systems integration, problem solving projects and getting more challenging work.”
Ms. Tapia and Mr. Klauder, obviously, never met. But, they share a lot in common, including determination and drive.
Mr. Klauder worked during the day at the Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia and attended the Drexel Institute of Technology at night to obtain a certificate in electrical engineering. Ms. Tapia works by day and attends the University of Virginia on weekends where she is pursuing a Master’s degree in Systems Engineering. And, by the way, she is married with two children under the age of 5.
Last month, Ms. Tapia and Mr. Klauder became linked forever when the American Public Transportation Foundation (APTF) awarded her the Louis T. Klauder Scholarship, which is given annually to an applicant dedicated to a career in the rail transit industry as an electrical or mechanical engineer.
Ms. Tapia officially received the scholarship on September 25th at the American Public Transportation Association’s Annual Meeting, which was held in Nashville, TN. LTK President Dominic DiBrito was on hand to present the award.
“[The scholarship] is very important to me,” she said. “It’s a significant amount, and helps me focus more on my studies and a little bit less on the financial part. Especially with having two children, who have to go to daycare while I work. It’s a huge relief.”
Mr. DiBrito shared lunch with Ms. Tapia at the conference and came away impressed.
“She is an extraordinary woman, and it was a pleasure meeting her,” said Mr. DiBrito. “We talked for quite a while and I couldn’t help but be inspired by how hard she works and the way she balances her work and home life. I also commend Raul V. Bravo Associates for supporting Edith in this pursuit.”
Ms. Tapia says she too was inspired: By LTK’s commitment to giving back and the support she received from Raul V. Bravo Associates and the APTF.
“[LTK’s] support to students reminds all of us that there are companies that care,” she said. “Mr. DiBrito’s career is impressive, and I thank him for his commitment to supporting the future generation of rail transit professionals. I really appreciate his interest and time spent in getting to know me.”