As the owner and principal engineer of NWAN Consulting, Oke Nwaneshiudu heads a local professional services consulting firm that specializes in construction management of vehicle fuel storage and dispensing systems, vehicle maintenance facilities and sites.
December marked the grand opening of NWAN’s new offices, located at 53rd Street and Cedar Avenue in West Philadelphia.
“This is dream that I’ve always had. I’m just happy to see it come to fruition,” Nwaneshiudu, 34, said in regard to launching his business.
“There were a lot of challenges in starting the firm, and there still are. I feel like it’s a worthwhile venture.”
He’s had to face the challenge of being an African American in an industry that has few minorities.
While his business is located in an area not typical for professional services firms, Nwaneshiudu views the West Philadelphia community as an ideal fit.
Nwaneshiudu says NWAN is poised for significant growth. He’s gone from being a one-man operation to planning for the addition of 10 employees in the next six months.
Prior to officially incorporating NWAN in May, Nwaneshiudu worked at a local consulting firm for six years where he served as a project manager.
The firm assists municipalities and private companies that own a fleet of vehicles such as buses, planes and corporate vehicles.
NWAN’s services are geared toward clients such as state agencies, state fire marshals, major cities, major regional, international airport authorities, municipalities and townships.
Nwaneshiudu says that being a niche-based business and having repeat clients has been a critical aspect of his success during this down economy.
“For a small business it’s very important to have a niche area of service,” he said.
“A lot of the work we do is ongoing work. If you build a system for a client, they have to come back. You want them to come back to you.”
For instance, Nwaneshiudu gave an example of how his firm provides services for entities that have fueling stations.
“If you have a fueling dispenser, underneath that dispenser, you have a containment that prevents any spills from going into the earth and contaminating the environment,” he said.
“That containment by state law has to be kept clean at all times. Over time they get dirty, so (the client) comes to me and I will arrange the coordination of the cleaning, so it doesn’t matter if the economy is rough or the economy is great, they have to be cleaned.”
Nwaneshiudu credits organizations such as Widener University Small Business Development and the Partnership CDC with helping him to succeed.
In addition to running his firm, Nwaneshiudu is a praise and worship leader at his church, 2nd Baptist Church in Media, and co-founder of a local Christian contemporary band called the “One Sound Mission” Band.
Nwaneshiudu is a native of Nigeria, West Africa. He relocated to the United States at an early age and grew up in North Philadelphia.
Nwaneshiudu has a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Temple University, and a master’s in civil engineering and doctorate in interdisciplinary civil engineering, water management and hydrology from Texas A&M University.
Contact Staff Writer Ayana Jones at (215) 893-5747 or firstname.lastname@example.org.