Kaskaskia Engineering hires former MnDot official


Area needs more minority firms, he says

Keith Baker
Keith Baker

Keith Baker has been named vice president of Minnesota Operations for Belleville-Ill.-based Kaskaskia Engineering Group, LLC (KEG), a civil engineering and construction contracting firm that is 100 percent woman owned and managed, certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE).

Baker has 30 years of business experience in private, public and nonprofit sectors, as well as 18 years of experience with MnDOT. During his tenure with the transportation department, he championed small business growth and sustainability and worked with DBEs and small and minority-owned businesses across the state to bridge the gap and meet the government agency’s demand for certified DBE and minority-owned businesses.

Baker created a strategic partnership, leveraging the capacity of women and minority-owned engineering and architectural businesses certified as DBE/TGB firms, which better positioned them to compete and win contracts for work on the US Bank Stadium (Minnesota Vikings stadium).

“Keith is an influential leader in business and has a genuine compassion for the community and its development; he’s the perfect individual to drive KEG’s operations in the Twin Cities region,” says Geri Boyer, KEG’s president and founder.

Baker is delighted to be part of a firm that is aligned with his values and is committed to nurturing a relationship with the community. He says KEG is a significant asset to the region, benefitting prospective non-DBE clients as well as other small, minority-owned and DBE businesses.

“Demand is high for DBE and minority-owned firms in the region [to fill government contracts], yet few firms exist,” says Baker calculating fewer than 2000 certified DBE firms are in the region, and only 30 are in the highway heavy construction industry. “KEG has the expertise and the capabilities to fill this gap.”

According to Baker, there is an abundance of contract opportunities in the region for DBEs and minority-owned businesses. Over the next 10 years, $10 billion is slated for public infrastructure improvements and private development in the Twin Cities metropolitan area alone, and $6.8 billion is projected in the next 20 years for projects in Rochester, Minn.

Baker is an executive board member and program chair with Everybody In, an organization whose goal is to eliminate racial employment disparities in St. Paul and Minneapolis and the seven-county region by 2020. Baker resides in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

 

— Information and photo provided by KEG