If anybody knows the rewards of hard work and determination, it is Kwabena Osei-Sarpong ’05. Without having explored the campus prior to his arrival, Osei-Sarpong came to Radford University (RU) as a foreign student from Ghana in 2002. “RU soon became my home away from home," says Osei-Sarpong.
As a student, Osei-Sarpong was very active and highly involved in campus organizations. One of his proudest moments was when he started a campus chapter of the international organization, Enactus (formally SIFE—Students In Free Enterprise). The chapter was called Radford in Free Enterprise (RIFE). RIFE’s first goal was to help two Radford businesses by providing business plan development and financial management tools. "Three months after the organization was founded, our team participated in a competition in Washington D.C. and won 'Rookie of the Year' and second runner up. It was very exciting because we were competing against seasoned teams from all over the country, and we held our own," says Osei-Sarpong.
A few years after graduation, Osei-Sarpong started his own company, RIFE (Real Estate, Infrastructure, Facilities and Energy), International. "Radford taught me so much. Everything I learned during my three years there contributed to where I am today. The organization we founded during my term at RU served as inspiration for starting my own company and is a reminder of the institution that gave me the tools I needed in order to succeed," says Osei-Sarpong.
RIFE International focuses on energy efficient government contracting. "We help our clients by designing, developing and implementing sustainable projects from ‘green’ energy efficient programs to implementing and managing the construction of those projects. A few of our projects have involved helping colleges and universities reach their sustainability goals. I was glad to hear that RU has also made efforts to make the campus more ‘green’," says Osei-Sarpong. Some of his firm’s clients include top government agencies such as the Pentagon Force Protection Agency (PFPA), the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), the General Service Administration (GSA), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the National Science Foundation (NSF).
The leadership skills that Osei-Sarpong acquired from his time at RU and in developing his business also led him to serve as President of the African American Real Estate Professionals, a premier commercial real estate organization in Washington D.C.
He strives to succeed so he can give back to Radford, his community and society at large. "I believe giving back is the only way to transfer the knowledge, experience and the resources that one acquires through life experiences and professional pursuits. With a will to achieve and a sense of wanting to create a path of success, I am always grateful for my foundation at Radford University," says Osei-Sarpong.
In 2010, Osei-Sarpong was awarded the Washington, D.C. 2010 Power 30 Under 30 award. He shared this award with President Barack Obama's speech writer among other top leaders under 30. "This was a very accomplished group of individuals, and I was humbled to be recognized in that category. To me that was a clear indication that RU students can excel at the highest levels in whatever field they choose to pursue," says Osei-Sarpong.
Osei-Sarpong encourages students to be proactive and create their own destiny. "Education will give you the knowledge and the resources you need. It is your responsibility to identify opportunities, take chances, and apply what you have learned," says Osei-Sarpong.