Six Loudoun women to watch: Lorna Campbell Clarke, Knight Solutions
Lorna Campbell Clarke is the director of business operations for Knight Solutions, a Leesburg-based general contracting firm working primarily with the renovation of national cemeteries. The company found its niche in the care and employment they provide for veterans.
“Our mission is to hire veterans whenever possible.” Clarke explained.
They embark on one-to-five year contracts, usually involving one year of raising and realigning the cemetery, and four years of maintenance.
Clarke remarked that the veterans they hire take pride in coming full cycle, as they work to beautify what might be their own future resting place.
If it were not for a local job opportunity that her husband received, Clarke might never have moved to Virginia. In fact, her roots originate overseas.
Clarke was born in Liberia and immigrated with her family to the United States in 1980. Graduating from Binghamton University (SUNY) in 1987 with a B.A, in Law and Society, she was living in Los Angeles in 2002 when her husband received a job opportunity in Northern Virginia.
Herself a graduate from the Leadership Loudoun program, Clarke now serves as the organization’s board chairman. She credits the nine-month program with teaching her how to run a business using her type-A personality.
The program also provided an introduction to Kevin Knight, founder of Knight Solutions.
Clarke has been involved with Knight Solutions since its inception, even helping to choose the company name and design a logo. After Knight took a year to get the business off the ground, he invited Clarke to come on board to assist with the company’s marketing efforts.
As the director of business operations, Clarke oversees the company’s internal affairs. It’s no small task, as Knight Solutions has grown 1,472 percent in the last three years. This growth earned Knight Solutions a ranking of 294 on the Inc. 500 list of the fastest growing private U.S. companies in 2013.
Clarke strives to alleviate potential growing pains by focusing on internal management, so she can look back in the future and know the company took care of their employees.
Already veteran-focused, she also plans to increase future opportunities for veterans. Knight Solutions is planning a specific veteran program to take care of veterans and their families. It is a project three years in the making.
Clarke’s work at Knight Solutions alone does not seem to satiate her drive to help others.
"To whom much is given, much is required," she says.
Clarke works as board secretary for her church, and also produces the Loudoun Youth annual fashion show. Another passion is the Tigerlily Foundation, an organization that supports the fight against breast cancer.
“Being in service grounds me,” Clarke explains.
Fortunately for the Loudoun community, Clarke does not seem to be leaving the area anytime soon. She intends to continue assisting with the growth of Knight Solutions, and help develop inspired leaders through the Leadership Loudoun program.
When asked if she had any advice for those future leaders, Clarke replied, “We have to know who we are in order to lead anyone else. We have to know our strengths and our weaknesses and be comfortable in our own skin.”
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