Cheryl McKissack Daniel, civil engineer, has more than 25 years of experience in all phases of the design and construction industry including major project work in the commercial, healthcare, education and transportation sectors. Born in Nashville, Tennessee, Cheryl comes from a long lineage of architects and builders that began with an enslaved Ashanti ancestor in 1790. Cheryl’s grandfather, Moses McKissack, founded the family business in 1905. Her father, William DeBerry McKissack took over in 1968, and her mother Leatrice Buchanan McKissack grew the business after her husband died. Today, Cheryl represents the fifth generation of the McKissack family’s century old business, McKissack & McKissack, the oldest minority and woman-owned design and construction firm in the nation.
McKissack & McKissack provides general contracting, construction management and consulting services for various project types throughout the East Coast and the United States. The McKissack family of services extends into areas of expertise beyond traditional A/E/C disciplines, broadly supporting client needs related to their facilities. Over the years, Cheryl has built upon the success of her firm’s fore parents by fostering long lasting relationships and by providing innovative solutions to complex projects. Her success stems from her unique ability to listen, ask the right questions, lead through expertise, and always being prepared.
To each project her firm undertakes, Cheryl brings capabilities drawn from her staff of architects, engineers, and construction professionals. Her company currently employs over 150 employees and has contracted more than $50 billion dollars in construction over the past decade. Within McKissack clients find a mastery of talent blended with commitment, resources, and implementation skills, all under the leadership of Cheryl McKissack.
As President and CEO, Cheryl serves as Project Executive on all of her firm’s high profile projects. In this capacity she provides executive leadership and ensures that diversity is implemented during each phase of a project or program. Her skills include expertise in estimating, scheduling, design review, document control, construction inspection, and developing and implementing quality assurance/quality control programs. Some of Cheryl’s most distinguished clients include Columbia University, the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York, the New York State Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and the New York City School Construction Authority.
Cheryl serves on numerous, corporate, charitable and community boards. As a board member, Cheryl focuses on strategic planning as part of good governance. She believes strategic planning is a critical part to a board’s mission and formulating good strategy ensures long-term value creation. Additionally, Cheryl believes a board’s role is to build an ethical culture and manage risk.
Cheryl has been honored as a “Hero of Liberty” for her support of humanitarian initiatives and for promoting the responsibilities of a free and diverse America. She earned both a bachelor and master’s degree in civil engineering from Howard University and graduate course work Columbia University in Civil engineering.
McKissack & McKissack Advisory Board, New York, NY, Board Chair (2010 – present)
Cheryl, as sole owner of McKissack, decided to form a Board of Advisors to assist the company in strategic growth, increased operational efficiency, risk management and monitor performance. Cheryl formed this board with the assistance of a board consultant and secured accomplished board members, nationally, with expertise in construction, mergers and acquisition and strategic planning. Under Cheryl’s leadership the board successfully grew the company over 400% in 3 years and expanded the service offering, to include general contracting.
National Women’s History Museum, Washington, DC, Board Member (2010 – Dec 2014)
The National Women’s History Museum (NWHM), founded in 1996, is a nonpartisan, nonprofit educational institution dedicated to preserving, interpreting, and celebrating the diverse historic contributions of women, and integrating this rich heritage fully into our nation’s history. NWHM is a 501(c)(3) organization. Cheryl severed on the Governance Committee, tasked with acquiring high profile board members and identifying and conducting a search for the Board Chair. Other responsibilities included fundraising and strategic planning.
Women Builders Council, New York, NY, Board Chair and President (2010 – 2014), Board Member (2006-present) Secretary (2006 – 2010), Chair of Public Policy Committee
Women Builders Council (WBC) is the leading association representing women in the construction industry on several important fronts: legislative advocacy, new business development and professional development with a special focus on leadership. WBC provides a dynamic forum that advances industry knowledge, addresses the barriers that prevent women from growing and facilitates solutions for policy makers and industry leaders.
WBC was founded by several women business owners who recognized the challenges of doing business in a traditionally male-dominated industry. Established in 2004, today it has grown to be one of the leading voices for women business owners and women professionals in construction. Its Board includes many of the leading women in construction. The organization is the leading voice for women in the construction industry in New York State.
Cheryl served as President of WBC for 2 consecutive 2-year terms, starting January 2010, and ending December 2014. During Cheryl’s presidency, the organization focused on strategic growth and greater awareness of the organization in New York. Cheryl grew the board from 9 members to 25 and doubled membership. Cheryl continues to serve as Chair of the Advisory Board and Chair of the Public Policy Committee. As chair of the Public Policy Committee, Cheryl worked with NYC elected official to shape new procurement policies for minority and women-owned businesses.
Fisk University, Nashville, TN, Board Member (2008 – 2014), Co-Chair Enhanced Physical Assets, Committee Member, Financial Strength
Founded in 1866, shortly after the end of the Civil War, Fisk University is a historically black university, and is the oldest institution of higher learning in Nashville, Tennessee. Fisk’s outstanding faculty and students continue to enhance the University’s national reputation for academic excellence, which is validated year after year by the leading third party reviewers, as well as, by the pool of talented applicants and the large percentage of alumni who complete graduate or professional degrees and become leaders and scholars in their fields.
New York Building Congress, New York, NY, Board Member (2012 – present)
The New York Building Congress provides a unique forum to advance an industry-wide agenda focusing on economic and infrastructure investment, job creation and professional exchange. These goals require the dedicated involvement and cooperation of the contractors, architects, engineers, unions, real estate managers, developers and owners who comprise the building community.
On behalf of nearly 400 constituent organizations comprising more than 250,000 skilled trades, people and professionals, the New York Building Congress supports sound public policy; promotes productive capital spending; encourages public/private partnerships, and evaluates the implementation of major government projects.
New York Building Congress Foundation, New York, NY, Board Member (2008 – 2012)
The New York Building Foundation was formed in 1998 to promote the long-term growth and well-being of the industry through a program of research, educational and philanthropic activities.
Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) National Board, Washington, DC, Board Member, Finance Committee (2008 – 2012)
The mission of COMTO is to ensure a level playing field and maximum participation in the transportation industry for minority individuals, businesses and communities of color through advocacy, information sharing, training, education and professional development. Cheryl assisted in growing the organization developing strategic initiatives and conflict resolution.
Philadelphia Authority for Industrial Development (PAID), Philadelphia, PA, Vice Chair (1999 – 2008)
PAID is a public authority incorporated by the City of Philadelphia and organized to undertake three main activities. PAID is a vehicle through which PIDC manages properties and industrial sites on behalf of the City including property acquisition, improvement, environmental remediation and/or sale. PAID also issues taxable and tax-exempt bonds on behalf of non-profit organizations, qualified manufacturers, other exempt organizations, and the City of Philadelphia. PAID serves as a conduit for governmental contract and grant program funding for economic development projects throughout the City. As Vice Chair, Cheryl was responsible for reviewing real estate and financial transactions.
Greater New York ACE Mentor Program, New York, NY, Board Member (2010 – present)
The ACE Mentor Program, a not-for-profit organization, helps prepare high school students for careers in design and construction. The fastest-growing mentoring program in the building industry, ACE operates in over 40 states and 200 cities across the nation. As a board member, Cheryl participates in the strategic planning of the organization.
Liberty Museum, Philadelphia, PA, Board Member (2000 – 2006)
Located in the heart of historic Philadelphia, the National Liberty Museum is dedicated to preserving America’s heritage of freedom by encouraging people to find their own place in the story of liberty. Visitors to the Museum enjoy an inspiring and entertaining experience, as they interact with incredible stories of heroes and a collection of contemporary art. Our core themes for young people and adults include leadership and good character; diversity and inclusion; peaceful conflict resolution; and civic engagement. Our primary art form is glass art, as it makes the point that freedom is as fragile as glass.
Yonkers Minority Business Council Advisory Board, Yonkers, NY, Co-Chair (2005 – 2009)
Philip A. Anicone, elected Mayor of Yonkers in 2004, created the Yonkers Minority Business Council Advisory Board to driving economic growth within minority communities, by promoting minority-owned businesses. The Advisory Board developed strategy to directly increase the use of MWBE firms in Yonkers, as well as, served as another public relations resource for the Mayor.
Jobs for New Yorkers Task Force, New York, NY, Committee Member (2014)
Mayor Bill de Blasio established the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development to serve as the coordinating entity for the City’s workforce initiatives. He then convened the Jobs for New Yorkers Task Force (the Task Force), comprised of members from government agencies, businesses, educational institutions, organized labor, nonprofits, and philanthropy, to articulate goals for the new workforce system in NYC.
Cuomo/Duffy Transition Team on Transportation and Infrastructure, New York, NY, Committee Member (2010)
Cheryl worked with this committee to identify candidate for key government positions in New York State transportation and infrastructure agencies.