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“i think we’ll see a wave of new entrepreneurs as the new administration takes hold. President Obama is pushing to revitalize small businesses.” — Christopher J. Cooper, NSBE National aE Entrepreneurship Chair CoNtiNuEd from pagE 129 says Cooper. “We want to educate people about entrepreneurship, train them, connect them with each other and supplier diversity programs, track their performance and reward them for participating in the program.” NSBEpreneur has two major tracks: one for budding entrepreneurs and one for those already in business. “Track One is for those who need help with business planning, finances and marketing,” he says. “At the end of the three-month process, Track One participants will be able to put together a business plan.” Track Two helps business owners secure supplier diversity contracts and build their business capacities. Both tracks will be part of NSBE’s 35th Annual National Convention in Las Vegas. “Track One will participate in a business plan competition, and Track Two will be able to highlight their businesses at the Entrepreneur Fair we’re hosting at the convention,” Cooper enthuses. Also on the convention agenda are workshops for aspiring entrepreneurs and established business owners, and a supplier diversity luncheon. “I’m especially excited about two of our roundtables,” says Cooper. “One will be given by supplier diversity executives, and the other is focused on making the transition from working for a corporation to owning your own business.” Cooper says economic downturns can be boons for entrepreneurs, because companies that are laying off salaried employees still need experts. Being laid off from a secure corporate job can be overwhelming, Cooper admits, but he believes it can propel individuals to success. “The fact that minorities, particularly African Americans, often find it difficult to secure jobs in Corporate America can be a motivator,” he says. “My graphic design artist was rejected from 14 different companies. Rather than give up, he started his own design firm and has won 27 awards. Rejection can be fuel to the fire.” ■ Siobhan Leftwich is a freelance writer who lives in the suburbs of Baltimore, Md. ABE ANd NICOLE AdEwALE aBNa Engineering, inc. www.abnaengineering.com t he Adewales, husband and wife members of NsBE, have helmed ABNA Engineering, inc., since 1995. the company specializes in civil, structural, electrical and hydraulic engineering; surveying and global information systems. headquartered in st. Louis, Mo., ABNA has additional locations in East st. Louis and Chicago. Abe, who is originally from Lagos, Nigeria, and Nicole, who is from university City, Mo., both attended georgia tech, where Abe got a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and Nicole earned a bachelor’s in chemical engineering. the couple didn’t meet until later, though, on Nicole’s first day on the job as resident engineer at the illinois Department of transportation. Abe was working there as a transportation engineer. “i managed major budget projects for nine to 10 years,” Abe recalls, “and i enjoyed the work. But entrepreneurship has always been a desire of mine. i always wanted to own an engineering company and contribute to infrastructure projects in the communities i lived in.” “i worked on the budget with the responsibility for interacting with contractors and did field measurement,” Nicole says about her work at illinois Dot. “i had the distinction of being the only African American in the district who could and would walk steel.” But after a few years, she felt her career was at a standstill: “i had that feeling people get when they hit the glass ceiling. i wasn’t satisfied with where my career was heading in the organization.” After Abe and Nicole made the decision to start their own business, they began saving 40 percent of their income. they saved enough to cover six months’ expenses and took a chance by not having insurance. they put together a strong business strategy that focused on public sector work. it took the couple three years to become profitable, during which time they radically cut expenses by driving only one car and doing without disposable income. But the sacrifices have been worth it; today the company has more than 40 employees and annual revenues of more than $3.5 million. “it all starts with commitment, perseverance and insistence,” says Abe. “You have to let people know that you’re going to succeed at what you’re doing.” ■ — S.L. www.nsbe.org 130 • march/april 2009 •

NSBE - March/April 2009

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of NSBE - March/April 2009

NSBE - March/April 2009
Contents
Common Sense for Uncommon Times
Men of Influence
Love and Time
International News
Aris Freeman and Kyrra Mosley of Jacobs
Daniel Grant of NAVAIR
Re Kenebrew of Schlumberger
Shakti Davis of MIT Lincoln Laboratory
Philip Ryan of Toyota
Engineering Las Vegas
Show Time! NSBE's 35th Annual National Convention: Celebrating "Exponential Growth" in the "Entertainment Capital of the World"
Celebrating Academic Excellence
Company Profile
Finding Career Fair Success
CE Cover - Choosing Entrepreneurship
Help for Small Tech Businesses
AE Members on the Move
Advertisers Index
NSBE - March/April 2009 - NSBE - March/April 2009
NSBE - March/April 2009 - Cover2
NSBE - March/April 2009 - 1
NSBE - March/April 2009 - Contents
NSBE - March/April 2009 - 3
NSBE - March/April 2009 - 4
NSBE - March/April 2009 - 5
NSBE - March/April 2009 - Common Sense for Uncommon Times
NSBE - March/April 2009 - 7
NSBE - March/April 2009 - Men of Influence
NSBE - March/April 2009 - 9
NSBE - March/April 2009 - Love and Time
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NSBE - March/April 2009 - 12
NSBE - March/April 2009 - International News
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NSBE - March/April 2009 - Aris Freeman and Kyrra Mosley of Jacobs
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NSBE - March/April 2009 - Daniel Grant of NAVAIR
NSBE - March/April 2009 - 21
NSBE - March/April 2009 - Re Kenebrew of Schlumberger
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NSBE - March/April 2009 - Shakti Davis of MIT Lincoln Laboratory
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NSBE - March/April 2009 - Philip Ryan of Toyota
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NSBE - March/April 2009 - Engineering Las Vegas
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NSBE - March/April 2009 - Show Time! NSBE's 35th Annual National Convention: Celebrating "Exponential Growth" in the "Entertainment Capital of the World"
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NSBE - March/April 2009 - Celebrating Academic Excellence
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NSBE - March/April 2009 - Company Profile
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NSBE - March/April 2009 - Finding Career Fair Success
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NSBE - March/April 2009 - CE Cover - Choosing Entrepreneurship
NSBE - March/April 2009 - 130
NSBE - March/April 2009 - 131
NSBE - March/April 2009 - Help for Small Tech Businesses
NSBE - March/April 2009 - AE Members on the Move
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NSBE - March/April 2009 - 135
NSBE - March/April 2009 - Advertisers Index
NSBE - March/April 2009 - Cover3
NSBE - March/April 2009 - Cover4
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