A Career in Engineering Led To a World of Opportunities for New AMAC Member, Quinten J. Washington, CCM
New AMAC member Quinten J. Washington CCM, President of Quintessential Construction Managers & Consultants, LLC, began his career in engineering as a teenager. Back in high school, he was asked by his counselor to consider a career in engineering, he hesitated.
“I exceled in math and science and the counselor considered engineering a logical next step for me,” said Washington. “But I told her that the only engineers I was aware of drove trains.”
“Lucky for me,” he continued with a grin, “She just rolled her eyes and told me I was silly.”
Washington’s high school guidance counselor went on to encourage Washington to enter a minority engineering program at California State University at Northridge where he did very well. He became president of one of the first undergraduate chapters of the National Society of Black Engineers, and interned for powerhouse global engineering and construction corporation Bechtel.
Also in college, he developed a life-long love for the elegant sport of fencing. “I took the course on a dare and discovered I was good at it,” he recalls. “I became captain of the fencing team!”
The first in his family to graduate from college, Washington’s first job out of college was with renowned international construction firm Fluor-Daniels. His profession has led him to extraordinary success and the opportunity to work world-wide. He has lived in Paris and in Saudi Arabia and managed a variety of major projects. They included building an oil refinery from “sand to completion, ”working on the construction of a nuclear power plant, managing the installation of the first fiber optic cables on the original Sprint network, working on the renovation team for the Pentagon, and building large scale transit facilities, among many others.
He was also deputy business manager for magnet systems at the ill-fated Superconducting Super Collider Lab project in Texas, a venture that was never completed. “It was a great learning experience for me,” he says, with a sad shake of the head.
In 2006, he started his own business in construction management in Washington, D.C. and signed his first major contract the same day that he registered with the Secretary of State. “But, he notes, “two years later the economy tanked and I had to hold on for survival.”
It was a tough few years, but he refused to give up. “I don’t know how to give up,” he says. “I believe that nothing is impossible, it just hasn’t been done yet.” He made it through the recession and the company, which is now based in Woodbridge, VA., is on solid footing again.
A man who naturally gravitates toward leadership, Washington is Past-President of the Construction Management Association of America’s National Capital Chapter Board of Directors and was recently named a member of the National Small Business Association’s Leadership Council.
Recently he has turned his eye toward the burgeoning opportunities for construction in the airport industry.
“At the behest of my good friend Krystal Brumfield (AMAC President and CEO), I joined the organization and attended their national conference this past summer. I was amazed at all the things they are involved in,” he says. And, he added he was delighted to notice that many of his construction colleagues are also members of AMAC.
With AMAC and his other memberships, he looks forward to the chance to pursue one of his passions – involvement in legislative activities to encourage growth for small and minority businesses.
“I’m dedicated to the economic health of my community and my country, and the financial success of our businesses is key to that good health,” he says.