KDM Engineering    Chicago, IL

Our previous bank wasn’t moving the bar in terms of our capital needs as we grew, so we came to PNC.

Lighting the Way for Aspiring Engineers

You might not be surprised to learn that a teen known to her friends and family as Ms. Fix-It would grow up to become a respected electrical engineer. But Kimberly Moore had no intentions of stopping there. The accomplished engineer went on to build a multimillion-dollar enterprise, KDM Engineering, which in 2020 was named among Forbes’ Best Startup Employers and ranked 1851 on the Inc. 5000 list of Fastest-Growing Privately Held Companies in the U.S. Kimberly has also established the nonprofit Calculated Genius, which is helping change the face of the male-dominated engineering field.

Kimberly started her electrical engineering firm in the fall of 2008, just before the country began to feel the impact of what would become the Great Recession. To keep the business afloat during this challenging time, she worked side jobs until her father’s illness compelled her to take a three-year sabbatical. By 2012, KDM was back in business and, by 2014, had won a major contract that set off a surge of momentum.

“We’ve seen double-digit — sometimes triple-digit — increases the past six years in a row, and our team has grown to more than 100 employees,” Kimberly says, adding that the firm could have grown even faster had she had ready access to capital. “I’m not alone as a woman entrepreneur who is proud to have built her business without using other people’s money, but I see that those who did accept external funding positioned their businesses to grow faster. I didn’t have access to capital early on; who knows how much that might have helped?”

Today, Kimberly looks to PNC to support the financial needs of her growing WBENC-certified Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE). “Our previous bank wasn’t moving the bar in terms of our capital needs as we grew, so we came to PNC,” she says. “In just a short time, our PNC banker has introduced us to a variety of new ideas and strategies. We’re looking forward to working together toward continuing growth.”

Building Careers and Reshaping the Industry

KDM’s momentum hasn’t gone unnoticed. From 2018 through 2020, Kimberly and her company racked up awards including not only the Forbes and Inc. honors but also the Women Presidents' Organization 50 Fastest-Growing Women-Owned/Led Companies, Crain’s Chicago 40 Under 40, EY Entrepreneur of the Year (Midwest), Chicago’s Best and Brightest Companies To Work For and more. The 2019 Chicago Council on Science and Technology Young Professional Award recognized Kimberly’s work with underrepresented youth through Calculated Genius.

Everyone gets told ‘no.’ Don’t be discouraged: Keep gathering the courage, energy and optimism to pursue the next opportunity and all of those ahead.

She formed this nonprofit in 2015 to help high school students explore math and science careers through school year and summer programs. In 2020, Calculated Genius impacted over 90 students through digital resources and programming, including awarding $40,000 in scholarships to women pursuing engineering at the collegiate level, and sponsoring a virtual six-week Summer Scholars program focused on STEM and entrepreneurship. “Being among the first few Black women to graduate from Northern Illinois University with an electrical engineering degree, I’m committed to supporting all women who want to enter the field,” says Kimberly, who serves as a mentor and role model to many aspiring and early-career engineers.

At KDM, she has built a culture of diversity that welcomes all nationalities, races, religions, genders and ages. “Our diversity began unintentionally, as engineering tends to draw individuals from many countries. But after recognizing what an advantage this was to have such diversity of thought and experience, we put policies into place to ensure a diverse and inclusive culture going forward. Our diversity drives our innovation, and our innovation drives our success.”

Business Awards

  • 2020 America’s Best Startup Employers, Forbes
  • 2020 Inc. 5000 Fastest-Growing Privately Held Companies in the U.S. (#1,851)
  • 2020 EY Entrepreneur of The Year Award, Midwest
  • 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 Best and Brightest Companies To Work For® in Chicago
  • 2019 Women Presidents' Organization 50 Fastest-Growing Women-Owned/Led Companies (#15)
  • 2019 Crain's Chicago 40 Under 40
  • 2019 ATHENA Emerging Leader Award
  • 2019 Supplier of the Year Class 3, Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council Inc.
  • 2019 Chicago Council on Science and Technology Young Professional Award
  • 2018 Enterprising Women of the Year
  • 2018 Entrepreneur 360TM - 360 Best Entrepreneurial Companies in America
  • 2018 Engineering News-Record 40 Under 40 Midwest, 20 Under 40 National
  • 2018 Consulting-Specifying Engineer 40 Under 40
  • 2018 ComEd Diverse Business Partner Award, Overall Performance, Professional Services

Community Involvement

  • Founder, Calculated Genius Inc., 2018 - Present
  • Board member, Northern Illinois University Alumni Association, 2018 - Present
  • Board Member, City of Chicago Affirmative Action Advisory Board, 2020 - Present

Find them on the Web:

See Kimberly Moore speak about the challenges of building a business in a traditionally male-oriented industry as a member of the Chicago Business Leaders’ Panel during PNC's Women in Business Week Webcast Series: Tuesday, May 11, 11:30 a.m. ET.
Get Details and Register here.

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