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Deryl McKissack and Lisa Anders Building ‘The Dream,’ MLK Memorial on National Mall

Deryl McKissack, president and CEO of McKissack & McKissack

Deryl McKissack, president and CEO of McKissack & McKissack, and Lisa Anders, senior project manager, MLK Memorial, are eager to unveil to the world a project that is near and dear to their hearts, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

McKissack put together a team, referred to as the MTTG Joint Venture, comprised of McKissack & McKissack, Turner Construction Company & Tompkins Builders and Gilford Construction for the sole purpose of building the Memorial to immortalize the revered Dr. King.

“At McKissack & McKissack, we are the architects of record,” shares McKissack who won the bid to become the design builder and take the project from conception to completion.

Lisa Anders, senior project manager, MLK Memorial

Once McKissack & McKissack became the lead manager, the company was instrumental in gaining the necessary permits from the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, National Capital Planning Commission and National Park Service for the construction of the MLK Memorial to see the light of day. “We took [Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation] through the approval process from 20 percent to 100 percent. It was an intricate and complicated process,” she beams.

Anders, who leads the design and construction effort for the joint venture, says that this memorial has a really personal meaning for her which is deepened when she sees the reaction of visitors to the construction site. “The Commission of Fine Arts staff visited the site [recently], and they commented on how well McKissack & McKissack was able to translate the concept by ROMA Design Group. It is one of the most beautiful memorials, and the design is really complex geometrically. This architecture group should be commended for their success.”

The memorial is adjacent to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial and in direct line between the Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson memorials. It uses natural elements: stone, water and trees to underscore the themes of democracy, justice, hope and love. At the main entry, two stones are parted, and a single stone is pushed forward. On the side, the theme of hope is presented with text from King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, which is cut deeply into the stone.

McKissack continues, “The opening and the dedication will send a message to the world that we can come together and get things done. Martin Luther King Jr. stood for more than just African Americans. He stood for freedom for everybody. I am so honored to be a part of this. It will truly be a major cornerstone in our company, propelling us forward on a national status. It’s a significant project for us.”

The MLK Memorial is scheduled to open on Aug. 28, 2011, the anniversary of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech at the 1963 March on Washington.  –yvette caslin