After leaving successful careers with the Illinois Department of Transportation in 1994, Abe and Nicole Adewale found themselves in St. Louis. With their shared values of trust, family, diversity, passion, and leadership, they decided to start their own construction and engineering firm. Taking the initials from their names, they established ABNA Engineering.

In the 25 years since opening, ABNA has grown from two employees to more than 70. They provide quality structural and civil engineering design services for many types of projects. They also offer other services like land surveying, construction management, testing and inspection, and expertise on civil facilities such as transportation infrastructure and other public utilities.

After a few years in the business, they realized that breaking into government contracts was the best way to get their company off the ground. However, searching through government bids is a whole other ballgame from what they were used to. They had no idea where to begin or who to turn to.

That’s when the Adewales discovered the Missouri Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) through networking at a diversity workshop and decided to give it a try. In the early stages of working with the Missouri PTAC, they were quickly introduced to the PTAC bid-matching service. This keeps the process as quick and simple as possible, opening doors to dozens of new government contract bids every day. They also learned more about contract research and how to prepare a proposal and renew a certificate. These things, along with one-on-one planning and counseling, helped ABNA jump from a small engineering company to a large, multifaceted one.

“PTAC has been a wealth of resourcefulness from the day we were first introduced over 22 years ago and still remains a relevant resource to our future,” the Adewales said.

Since then, ABNA has built up a large project portfolio and has worked all over the city and in thirteen states. The company built the Metropolitan Sewer District’s storm systems, worked on I-64 and I-55 construction and reconstruction, and helped expand the BJC campus, among other things. They remain in contact with PTAC, which helps them track project opportunities they’re eligible for.

ABNA’s success is in large part due to its diverse staff of professionals. “ABNA Engineering is what you would call the United Nations of engineering companies,” Abe said. “The reason for that is we have people from literally every continent in the world working at ABNA. We’ve gone to great extents to bring people together from all over the world, so we can utilize their experiences in helping our clients solve problems.”

ABNA aims to provide many opportunities to young people, and has had at least two filled internship positions at all times in the last ten years. These interns then have the chance to become full-time employees and continue their time with the company. Employees also take trips to places like the Science Center and Engineers’ Center to teach young students about engineering, architecture, and other fields they’re knowledgeable in. These hands-on learning opportunities are part of ABNA’s commitment to educating future generations.

As ABNA looks to the future, the Adewales’ biggest goal is to continue to build upon their strengths. They strive to maintain meaningful client relationships and remain committed to adopting new innovations and technologies to grow their business. Lastly, they will continue to be advocates for STEM careers and use that passion to help the next generation.