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Welcome to SOLV Energy's Cultural Corner! As a way to illuminate our DEI path, we have introduced a new series highlighting diverse perspectives on career and life featuring members of our SOLV Energy team. Cultural Corner will build awareness and encourage appreciation for our variant cultural backgrounds!

Tell me about yourself. Who are you? Where did you grow up? How do you identify? My name is John Mackey. I was raised by my grandparents in Chattanooga, TN until graduating from Baylor Highschool and moving to South Carolina for college at Furman University. I identify as John Mackey, and I don’t mean that in an arrogant way. I think too often we get to bogged down in what makes us different or judge people based on appearance. We all have our own stories and troubles, so why not take the time to figure out what makes us the same.

What do you value most? I value being able to be myself. At work most would say I’m a pretty serious guy but if you take some time to get to know me you would be surprised by who I am and what I really enjoy in life. I have some friends that classify me as a unicorn because of how unique they think I am.

What were you told as a child that you still believe today? My grandmother, Izzie, told me that as a black man I would have to struggle for everything I want and even harder for equality. My mom told me that no matter how much I smile and nice I am to people, I will also be seen as a threat. Both continue to be true daily.

How does your cultural heritage influence who you are? I believe my cultural heritage influences me less than the people that have impacted me most in life. I have attended predominately white schools however I also always played sports and traveled so I got to interact with a lot of different cultural groups. Additionally, my family is a mix of everything so for me it’s more about surrounding myself with good people that want to see good and accept me for the quirky guy I am.

What family traditions or superstitions do you have? On my dad’s side, my grandmother, Grandma Jean, started a zoom meeting every Sunday to keep the family in contact through COVID. We still continue the calls and they have been some of the best conversations I could have ever dream for. We talk about everything and anything. It’s a time to grow, connect, learn, joke, play games, hold each other accountable and be there to listen when we need to vent.

What cultural similarities and differences do you have with your closest co-workers? I have found that all my co-workers have different upbringings and life experiences than I do but that has been what has brought us together because we like knowing about each other and I like to experience new things so I try out what I can.

Can you share something that you’d like everyone at SOLV to know about your cultural heritage? I want everyone at SOLV to do more to find out about the people they work with and how to help each other out on a level that shows we are all equal. I appreciate Black History Month because I always learn new things about black inventors and scientists but it’s the shortest month and tied into so many other holidays. Focus on appreciating and learning about your culturally different colleagues all year. That will ultimately trickle down to our families, friends, and communities. Sometimes the smallest pebbles make the biggest waves.

February is Black History Month! Do you have a specific black leader or role model that has influenced your life? Who are they and how have they influenced you? I have a few but honestly no one compares to my Uncle Warren. He has always been my role model. His actions and character have always motivated me to love life and live it to the fullest while also being kind and helping people along the way.

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