Engineering alumnus leads solo operation turned multimillion-dollar enterprise
As a teenager, Andrew Kishna had every intention of joining the U.S. Air Force.
Fueled by a desire to serve the country he immigrated to as an adolescent, he approached recruiters with a strong sense of direction. The 18-year-old was eager, capable and knowledgeable about architecture and construction, making him a match for a civil engineering group within the Air Force. So rather than enlisting, he utilized these skills as a contract employee.
Kishna’s decision then led to a string of good fortune throughout the 2000s. He obtained additional consulting contracts with the Air Force as well as the Department of Veterans Affairs and eventually an infrastructure plan for his home country of Guyana.
By 2010, about two years after graduating from the University of Missouri–St. Louis/Washington University Joint Undergraduate Engineering Program, Kishna capitalized on these contracts to form Etegra, a St. Louis-based architecture and engineering firm.
He started the company as a solo venture and has seen it evolve into a multimillion-dollar business that satisfies his initial desire to serve his country through planning and design services for the VA, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security and a variety of other federal agencies.
“There’s a sense of patriotism that comes along with the services we provide,” says Kishna, who serves as Etegra’s CEO. “I find a great deal of satisfaction from the work that we do designing facilities for our troops and veterans, whether that be for comfort or security.”
As he developed Etegra into the 50-person operation it is today, Kishna still yearned for ways to serve his community. He reviewed issues plaguing the St. Louis region and reflected on his own hardships growing up.
Kishna’s family had plenty of support but not always stable resources, so he looked for ways to aid St. Louisans suffering in both areas. His service ambitions then evolved into the founding of Restoration House, a nonprofit that guides homeless and at-risk youth through holistic and individualized programming.
“I was lucky that I had people to encourage me along the way,” Kishna says. “A lot of individuals in impoverished areas don’t have that person or family that will push them through. This program provides that encouragement and resources. I didn’t start far off from the people that we’re serving and ended up here – all through family support. I’m just trying to provide that to others.”
This story was originally published in the fall 2018 issue of UMSL Magazine. If you have a story idea for UMSL Magazine, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Short URL: https://blogs.umsl.edu/news/?p=77113