Walter E. Allen, a Navy veteran, started Acumen Building Enterprise in 1994 to help pay for graduate school. That small one-person consulting firm became a corporation in 2002. Acumen now has 40 employees and works with major transit agencies across the country to provide transit and transportation infrastructure development coupled with strategic technology solutions designed to expand urban mobility and accessibility.
Acumen is a full-service firm that offers customized services including strategy development, data analysis, systems engineering, white papers, and environmentally sustainable solutions. The firm’s expertise in collaborating with transit agencies and general contractors adds high value to its clients’ projects. If you’ve ever received change in $5 bills from a BART station, used a Clipper card, or paid with chip-based credit cards at retail establishments, then you have experienced the kind of technology and innovation that Acumen works on every day.
In 2016, Acumen needed a loan to support its cash flow and business growth. “Our biggest expense is payroll, and the loan allowed us to manage our cash flow while we wait for invoices to process,” explains Walter. “The timing of the loan was critical, and the infusion of capital kept us going.”
Walter went to the Alameda County SBDC (hosted by Main Street Launch) for accounting support: “It was a great help. I would recommend them to other business owners. I plan to go back to the SBDC for help on future business challenges as they arise.”
Walter joined the Navy at 17 years old and served for seven years. He stays connected to his military roots, dedicating Acumen to employing veterans, people of color, and women. “My goal is to create jobs, reduce climate change, and increase urban mobility,” says Walter. “We know that veterans are great employees: they hit deadlines extremely well, they thrive in highly structured environments, and exhibit excellent pattern recognition. All of these characteristics make our veteran employees invaluable.”
“Being an entrepreneur is not all fun. It’s hard work and late nights, but it’s incredibly rewarding. If you’re starting a business you need to be ready. Plan for cash flow because that’s what keeps your business open,” advises Walter.
Acumen is an appropriate name for the business because Walter and his team continuously demonstrate their expertise, adaptability, flexibility, and consistency. “We keep growing as we work to meet the demand for our services,” says Walter. “We look forward to working on more private ventures as tech companies and others continue to innovate and intersect with the transit and transportation sector.”
Click here to learn more about the incredible projects Acumen Building Enterprise, Inc. is working on across the United States.