T. Keith King
Champion of Standards and Hall of Fame Mainstay
Inducted in 2002
In the Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame, T. Keith King’s reputation precedes him. Not once, not twice, but three times a project directed by this outstanding engineer has been recognized with Hall of Fame status. As principal of the I-10 Twin Bridges over Mobile Bay, of the Cochrane/Africatown U.S.A. Bridge over the Mobile River, and of the state coal-export facility in Mobile, Mr. King has traveled this way before. The phrase suits this board chairman, president, and CEO; his firm, Volkert & Associates, is a world-class designer of infrastructure specializing in transportation. Among the top one percent of American engineering design firms, Volkert & Associates marked its 75th anniversary in 2000. The company maintains 12 design offices throughout the Southeast and employs 500, half in Alabama.
Born in Frisco City, Keith King graduated from Auburn University with a civil engineering degree in 1958. In 1960, he moved to Mobile and joined Volkert (then called Ewin Engineering Corporation). Initially a design engineer, Mr. King rose steadily in the firm, taking the helm in 1983. Under his guiding hand, Volkert became a leader in engineering, architecture, planning, and environmental consulting. It is designated one of the 10 fastest-growing such firms in America by the Professional Services Management Association.
Examples of Volkert’s sterling work abound in Alabama: Mobile’s municipal airport complex, the state docks, Florence’s Tennessee River Bridge, I-565 in Huntsville, and Birmingham’s I-59/I-20. Additionally, Volkert has designed buildings at both Auburn and Alabama, and for many schools and colleges in the state.
Through his great ability and dedication, Mr. King has become extremely accomplished not just career-wise, but in community life, too. His firm encourages employees to care, and provides channels for volunteering with Partners in Education, Explorer Scouts, the Mobile library, and others — with Mr. King setting a clear example. He serves on the board of advisors and board of directors of Mobile’s chamber of commerce; chaired the Business Council of Alabama; and presided over the International Trade Club. He led Mobile’s campaign to fund Reading Alabama’s “Write to Read” program, a statewide effort that created nearly 300 computer centers in which K–1 students learn to write as they begin reading. Better education for Alabama’s children lies close to Mr. King’s heart, and he has served on advisory boards at USA and in various capacities with the Alabama Commission on Higher Education.
In his work to improve engineering education, Mr. King particularly shines. He has been honored by Auburn University with its Distinguished Service Award, and by the College of Engineering as Outstanding Alumnus. From mentoring engineering students, to establishing scholarships, to chairing Auburn’s Alumni Engineering Council, he is there for the future of his profession.
And for its present. For 30 years he has worked with ASPE, presiding over the Mobile chapter and the state organization, and representing the latter as a national director for 12 years. Additionally, he served NSPE as both vice president and chair of membership, and
in countless ways worked to support NSPE goals and growth. In 2000, NSPE named Mr. King a charter Fellow; in 2001 he received the group’s prestigious Distinguished Service Award.
His impact on engineering societies is clear; his impact on how engineers do their work, and thus his impact on the public welfare, is also clear. In 10 years’ service on the Alabama Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors, Mr. King spent untold hours demonstrating the benefits of professional licensure. His expertise in the area was honed by participation on the National Council for Examiners of Engineering and Surveying and on NSPE’s Licensure and Qualifications for Practice Committee, which he chaired for three years.
Julia S. King supports and assists her husband in his civic and professional activities. The couple’s role includes being the parents of a daughter and two sons, and the grandparents of seven.