08.11.2022  |  Awards, Expert Insights, News

In his own words: Keith London, lifelong learner, answers a personal challenge from his father


Hear, in Keith London’s own words, what motivated KJ’s CEO and President to return to graduate school to finish his degree 37 years later.



In response to my father’s challenge to finish what I had started, 37 years after beginning my master’s studies, I graduated from San Diego State University with my Master’s in Civil Engineering in the spring of 2022. The encouragement of my wife of 31 years, Mara, and my two children, Jonathan and Katherine, plus the flexibility offered by the COVID-19 pandemic, were the final incentives I needed. I proudly fulfilled my commitment to my father as I walked across the stage and received my diploma.

With determination and creativity, I worked with San Diego State University to resume my studies. I was challenged by the fact that I had to call on my education, training, and experience as a problem solver to pass a number of comprehensive exams related to courses I had taken in the 1980s. Yes, I then became the 60-year-old in class with up and coming graduate students in their 20s; I hope they learned half as much from me as I learned from them.

My love of learning helped me to master courses that were not even a concept in 1984 – we were just beginning to program with punch cards in the mid-1980s when I graduated from Purdue University as an undergrad. In my recent classes I learned Primavera P6, MATLAB, Revit and other tools/software and became learned about innovative technologies like virtual reality, machine learning, and digital twins. While the technology has certainly advanced since the 1980s, as engineers, we must always be challenging ourselves to be lifelong learners.

One of the most satisfying results of my adult education was being asked in one of my courses to help younger students with a Revit problem. In addition, I believe I have been partially responsible in inspiring others to return to their own uncompleted master’s programs. I like to think that my example will inspire more of our staff to face challenges, commitments, and promises head on, continuing to grow Kennedy Jenks as an employee-owned company long beyond my tenure.


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