For the past few years, Kwame Building Group CEO Tony Thompson has been invited to speak to classes of the University of Missouri Saint Louis – Washington University Joint Engineering Program. 

Last month, Tony again met with classes and gave his insight into the business of an engineer. He shared his candid reflections on opening Kwame Building Group when few minority firms existed in the industry. 

Tony presents every year to students at many universities throughout the St. Louis region. He has spoken annually to classes in the UMSL/WU Joint Engineering Program ever since he was the program’s commencement speaker in 2018. 

Many students shared highlights of what they gained from Tony’s presentation. 


“You made a very appealing case for the need to have a focus on business as an engineer. The importance of having a wider understanding and a deeper knowledge of business aspects does stick out as one thing that is lacking from an engineering education, so it is very nice to hear someone in your position saying those kinds of skills would be useful.” 

– Student

“I really enjoyed your speech and the information you presented. It was quite interesting to know what an engineer does in a day as well as learning about your experience being an engineer…Your advice on taking business classes was also quite helpful. I also think it is a good idea to be exposed to the business and finance aspect of things as you don’t learn about that in engineering school. And if you want to be a successful entrepreneur, it is necessary to have  those skills… With the few extracurriculars I have left, I will look into taking a few more business and finance classes to build my financial literacy. Also, if I ever do get to see the big block letter signs of Budweiser, I will definitely think of Tony.” 

– Student

Thank you for taking time out of your very busy schedule to talk to me and my class….I think it was really awesome that you started your own company when there were not any black owned companies in the industry. Stuff like that is inspiring to people who can relate to you.

– Student