In honor of Black History Month, and in an effort to showcase the black excellence we see each and every day at Vanir, we would like to highlight some of our incredible employees. First up is Shanna Crutchfield, Community Outreach and Contracting Equity Manager. A member of our Pacific Northwest team, Shanna has 21 years of experience in public sector environments providing planning, development, coordination and implementation of community outreach and race and social justice programs that contribute to equity goals for specific projects and capital programs. Read on to learn more about Shanna and the critical work she’s doing for the many communities Vanir serves, as well her thoughts on the importance of black history – this month and always.
What do you like most about working for Vanir?
I love the humble beginnings of Vanir that started with the vision of our founder, H. Frank Dominguez. Frank was an innovator for change and bringing change to his community in California by making schools better for historically underserved students, families and communities. His legacy continues today through his daughter Dorene C. Dominguez. I love the work that I do at Vanir. Currently I am working on three K-12 projects that work to advance educational justice for black and brown students in addition to other historically underserved students. We are carrying out Frank’s vision, and when we work to make schools better for historically underserved students, we make schools work better for all students.
Could you tell us a little about your current role?
My job is to partner with Vanir’s clients and our project teams to ensure that our projects engage and listen to voices of the communities that are impacted by the project. I also work with our project team and clients to ensure that we are advancing equity in contracting and procurement through our partnerships with minority-, women-, small- and disadvantaged-owned businesses working on our projects. Our partnerships create economic vitality for businesses that have historically been underutilized on projects.
In recognition of Black History Month, what does the month-long celebration mean to you?
For me, black history is more than a month-long celebration. It is the history on which this country was founded. It is all of our history and should be acknowledged, honored and also challenge us to consider how our society today has been shaped by this history and how can we address the racial inequities that continue to live amongst us today. It is important that we not continue to repeat history of racial inequities and we must work in solidarity to advance racial equity today.
What is a moment in Black history that influenced or shaped your career/life or that particularly resonates with you?
There are so many moments that it’s hard to choose. In 2009 when Barack Obama was elected as the first African-American president of the United States. I thought about my ancestors and all the other black and African-American people who had fought for equality for all people. Dr. King shared his dream that we will live in a nation where we will not be judged by the color of our skin but by the content of our character. At the inauguration of President Obama, I saw a sea of diverse people of different races, genders, ages and so many elements of diversity. At that moment I saw unity, harmony and love that sparked in me hope and that change was at our front door.