WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 12, 2014) — The White House on Tuesday honored 11 local heroes who are “Champions of Change” for their exemplary leadership to ensure that transportation facilities, services, and jobs help individuals and their communities connect to 21st century opportunities.
These individuals, including Susan Park Rani, President of Rani Engineering in Minneapolis, are leading the charge across the country building connectivity, strengthening transportation career pathways, and making connections between transportation and economic growth.
Across the Federal government, the Administration has been dedicated to providing “ladders of opportunity” for all Americans, by investing in connecting communities to centers of employment, education, and services, and is calling for greater emphasis on those initiatives supporting this outcome. Recent research has found that social mobility varies by geography, and poor transportation access is a factor preventing lower income Americans from gaining higher income levels than their parents.
Transportation plays a critical role in connecting Americans and communities to economic opportunity through connectivity, job creation, and economic growth. Recognizing social mobility as a defining trait of America’s promise, access to reliable, safe, and affordable transportation is critical.
The Champions of Change program was created as an opportunity for the White House to feature individuals doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities. The event is closed to press but will be live streamed on the White House website.
Susan Park Rani is described ast an inspiration and a role model for women, minorities, immigrants, and virtually anyone with a desire to pursue the American Dream and start their own business. As a leader in the transportation field, she has demonstrated that opportunities in this industry are widespread and growing – and open to all who wish to acquire the necessary skills and participate.
Rani, born in South Korea, moved with her family to the United States as a child, speaking no English. She ultimately obtained a degree in civil engineering, and in 1993, at the age of 34, founded one of the first woman-and-minority-owned engineering firms in Minnesota where she grew up, with just two employees.
Over the years, the company has been involved in a number of high-profile transportation projects, and today, Rani Engineering employs 50 people, the company grosses over $5 million a year, and anticipates doubling in size within the next five years. In 2012, Rani Engineering was named the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Contractor of the Year by the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton appointed Rani to serve a four-year term on The Destination Medical Center Board of Directors on July 23, 2013. She was one of four appointments who were later confirmed by the State Senator to the eight-member board that oversees the state’s largest-ever economic development project.
The DMC board is responsible for guiding the use of the state’s $455 million investment in the Greater Rochester area – an investment that will leverage an estimated $5.6 billion in local and private investment over the next 20 years, create tens of thousands of new jobs, and secure the state’s competitive position as an international hub for health care and medical advancement. The Board oversees the operation of the Destination Medical Center Corporation and the development plan.
Rani has served on the boards of American Consulting Engineering Companies Minnesota, the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce, Mounds Park Academy, the Association of Women Contractors, and the National Association of Minority Contractors, Upper Midwest.