After more than ten years of service, Abe Adewale PE, cofounder, and Principal at ABNA Engineering, Inc. stepped down in December 2020 as a member of the Professional Engineering Division of the Missouri Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Professional Land Surveyors, and Professional Landscape Architects (APELSLA). Abe was appointed to the position in November 2009 by then-Missouri Governor Jay Nixon. APELSLA’s mission within the Engineering and Construction industry is as follows:
To serve and protect the public from incompetency, misconduct, gross negligence, fraud, misrepresentation, or dishonesty by providing an accessible, responsible, and accountable regulatory system that licenses only qualified professionals by examination and evaluation of minimum competency and enforces standards by implementing legislation and administrative rules.
Throughout his tenure with the Board, during which he worked for three governors of the State of Missouri, Abe played an important role in helping ensure the health and well-being of the State’s residents by evaluating the expertise of professionals in the Design-Build industry:
I had the opportunity to serve on APELSLA’s Board as a way to not only give back to the architecture, engineering, construction, and surveying industries, but to also help protect the health, safety, and welfare of every Missourian. Our role was unique in that we worked to protect the citizenry against people who were not qualified to provide engineering, surveying, or architectural services.
Along with safeguarding the public, Abe notes that the Board empowered professionals to be responsible providers of services by giving them the informational resources needed to best serve their clients:
We worked very hard not to be a punitive Board but to provide information to professionals in our industry so that they can act accordingly and do the right thing for the public.
Abe eventually assumed a similar role at the national level when in 2018 he became assistant Vice President of the Central Zone of the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). During his time with the Council he learned about different approaches to, as well as best practices for, licensure for engineering and surveying professionals:
My role [with NCEES] afforded me the opportunity to play a national part in how we license engineers and surveyors. It also allowed me to see what other parts of the country were doing in terms of licensure and how they were addressing issues related to the engineering and surveying professions. Luckily, I was able to bring much of that knowledge base back to Missouri to help us foster a much more collaborative environment between the Board, the licensees, and the public.
This knowledge base played an important part in changing the process for qualifying engineers and ensuring continued accreditation. Abe is especially proud of initiatives that helped improve access to professional licensure in Missouri:
While I was on the Board we were able to bring the cost of licensure down to where at one point we may have been the lowest-charging licensure board in the country at about $30 a year when other licensing boards were charging upwards of $300 a year. That was because we effectively managed the fees and funds that licensees paid us in such a way that we had a lot of funds stored away for a rainy day.
We were also able to institute the ability of engineers to take their professional engineering exam before their four years of experience, though we still require them to complete their four years. This enabled us to increase the number of licensees because the longer you wait after school to take the exam, the less likelihood there is you will be motivated to take it. To separate the three-legged stool of education, experience, and education has been highly beneficial to our licensees in the State of Missouri.
Regarding what he most appreciated about his time with APELSLA, Abe is quick to recognize the efforts of his colleagues and express gratitude for the opportunity to help grow the Design-Build industry in the state that ABNA’s headquarters calls home:
I greatly appreciate the Board’s staff for always being on point, and always on time on all issues, and for the way they have served all of our licensees. They have just been phenomenal. Looking back, I am excited to have had this wonderful opportunity to contribute to the architecture, engineering, and land surveying professions in Missouri.
Abe’s service with APELSLA and NCEES is part of a larger commitment to being a leader in the field of civil engineering, both in the St. Louis area and beyond. His efforts exemplify a key component of ABNA’s mission:
To provide an environment for professionals in the Design-Build industry to grow and thrive as passionate leaders and guardians of our public and private infrastructure.