MEA Power Player-Built to Give Back

Darryl K. Washington Founder, CEO DKW Communications

A profile of Darryl K. Washington

By Lynn K. Jenkins

Prior to 2001, Darryl K. Washington enjoyed a diversified and successful career having worked for the federal government, as well as for large and small federal contracting businesses. However, he knew that he had an unfulfilled “itch” to develop a company that would embody his vision and passion for giving back to the African American community as well as other minority and underprivileged communities. So, in 2001, Mr. Washington became Founder, CEO, and employee number one of DKW Communications (DKW). In 2015, DKW employs over 220 employees, has been listed on the INC 500/5000 list for five years in a row, has received numerous awards, and reinvests in several underprivileged communities. DKW, still considered a small business by SBA standards, currently mentors five small businesses; two woman owned, one Service Disabled Veteran Owned, one Historically Underutilized Business (HUBZone), and one 8a firm.  He reaches back to help these small businesses so that they do not have to overcome some of the challenges he was faced with during the early growth years. He emphasizes the importance of financial preparation, of having money in the bank, access to a steady cash flow, and to have a line of credit.

DKW’s corporate culture is one of integrity, “doing the right thing”, respect for the employees, and blending a team of great leaders. Mr. Washington emphasized that planning was critical to the growth of his business. He planned to find the right people – the people who would share his motivation, vision and passion for business. Then, he cultivated a corporate culture that treats everyone in the organization as a family member. DKW represents a diverse workforce employing African American, Caucasian, Asian, and Indian professionals. When asked why people choose to work at DKW, Mr. Washington cited several differentiators; great health benefits, “spot bonuses” presented to employees for great performance, and taking employees to Washington sports events – football, basketball, baseball, and hockey – and holding holiday events. He invests in events that allow his employees to get to know each other and fosters an environment where they like to work together. Additionally, the company invests in the ongoing employee education offering aggressive training and certifications in areas such as cyber security, networks, software development, and project management (PMP.) According to Mr. Washington, “without happy employees, there is no DKW.” He maintains that employees enjoy employment at DKW because they are given a level of latitude and freedom, as well as they believe in his management style.

Mr. Washington admits that he has had to overcome significant trials and challenges during this journey; ranging from an employee stealing $1 million dollars to a more recent health issue that forced some deep reflection. Daily, he continues to draw upon his faith and three most important attributes; Inspiration, Dedication and Motivation.  He realizes the importance of education in the African American community. Mr. Washington participated in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics programs from the 7th – 12th grades followed by four undergraduate years at Howard University [HBCU] resulting in a  Bachelor of Science degree. Mr. Washington reflected that his HBCU experience impacted who he is today. The overall experience instilled a strong belief that he was as knowledgeable and talented as any Ivy League graduate. And, that’s how he approaches his life. A man of “my word”, Mr. Washington not only talks the talk, but walks the walk. He sponsors AAU basketball camps, sponsors three churches in the Washington DC vicinity and one in the Richmond Virginia area. He has provided computers and furniture to help establish student learning centers. When asked about what motivates his generosity and philanthropic actions, Darryl Washington stated that he “wanted to reach back and build the next generation of the Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Congressmen, Senators, the next President…from the African American or other minority communities.”

Many companies measure their successes based upon the bottom line. Darryl K. Washington measures the success of his company on the amount of blessing he receives. His final remarks were forthright and without hesitation. “Some people are motivated by money. I am motivated by creating results for the future.”

About DKW Communications’ Service Offerings:  DKW delivers Cybersecurity, Healthcare Information Technology, Mission Critical Applications development and support – with a focus on Agile methodology and ISO 9001 Quality standards – Lifecycle Engineering, and Network Infrastructure Support. Federal Agencies award DKW Communications competitive contracts based upon their outstanding project management and leadership, customer focused business practices, technical delivery, innovation, and excellence performing on past projects.