ABES Engineering is pleased to welcome Pacifique Nizeyimana to its growing team.

Nizeyimana joined ABES in March 2024 and will be based in its Memphis office.

Like ABES Engineering CEO and founder Emmanuel Tuombe, Nizeyimana is a native of Rwanda, Africa. He grew up in and around Kigali, the capital of the country.

As a student in Rwanda, Nizeyimana excelled in science and math from a young age. He says he dreamed of studying abroad someday. He got the opportunity in 2017 after being awarded a scholarship to the University of Science and Technology in Beijing, China.

The first step in his journey – learn the Chinese language.

While Nizeyimana speaks several languages, including his native tongue Kinyarwanda, English and French, he did not speak Chinese at the time. He and other scholarship students from around the world spent the first year abroad learning Chinese, studying the language each day and immersing themselves in the culture of the country. While he admits it was difficult, Nizeyimana looked to the students who came before him for inspiration. “Something that really motivated me was that I wasn’t the first one to do it,” he says. “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

After the year of language study, Nizeyimana began his civil engineering degree – taught in Chinese – in 2018. He graduated in 2022 and began a master’s in civil engineering program.

That’s when fate stepped in.

Nizeyimana had previously applied for a United States visa through the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program. The program gives foreign nationals from eligible countries with low immigration rates to the U.S. the chance to obtain a green card or an immigrant visa. It’s a lottery system with millions of people applying each year.

Nizeyimana had applied six or seven times and was skeptical he would ever be chosen to move forward with the visa process. But in mid-2023, he got lucky. He was picked.

Through the program, he was invited to do his visa application and proceed through the process. He was issued a visa, arriving in the United States in December 2023.

Nizeyimana first lived in Atlanta, GA, with a friend from his time in China. He took a job in an Amazon warehouse while he searched for work in civil engineering.

Fortunately, the Rwandan community in the United States is tight. Nizeyimana met a man in Atlanta who happened to know Tuombe. An introduction was arranged, and Tuombe and Nizeyimana began to talk.

Tuombe says, “A friend of mine who knew that I’m building a growing engineering firm reached out to me to share that there was a talented young engineer who he thought might be a good addition to our team.

“Because I’m always looking for great people to join us, I called Pacifique and after hearing about his journey of how he went to China from Rwanda, got his civil engineering degree studying in Chinese, I was very impressed and from experience I knew that someone with that type of international experience would be a great addition to our team and could learn anything.”

Eventually, a position opened up at ABES Engineering, and Tuombe offered Nizeyimana the job.

Nizeyimana says he’s excited about the opportunity to launch his civil engineering career in the United States.

Tuombe is excited as well and sees great things for his latest hire. “My goal for a young engineer like Pacifique is to involve him in different projects such as field inspections and engage him on design projects progressively as he gains more experience,” he says. “Working closely with our experienced team of senior engineers, I am confident that Pacifique will gain the necessary knowledge and skills to grow.”

Nizeyimana’s broad experience with different cultures and communities will serve him well with ABES, Tuombe says. “I like Pacifique’s flexibility as well. As we grow in different locations I anticipate engaging him on our projects in Nashville and other places. I know also that I will have a lot to learn from him and he can teach me how to speak Chinese as I am always fascinated with different languages and cultures.”

Nizeyimana looks forward to sharing more about his international experiences with his colleagues and community. He’s in good company with ABES, which already includes team members from around the world, including Hong Kong, Sudan and Ethiopia, as well as from throughout the United States.

Building and growing a diverse team has been a focus for ABES from the start, Tuombe says. He points to research indicating that workplace diversity is not only good for employees, but good for business. Diverse teams draw from a broader range of experiences, insights and resources. This makes them better decision makers and more likely to consider innovative approaches to problem solving. Studies show that diverse teams simply out perform less diverse ones.

Tuombe is certain that Nizeyimana’s experiences in both Rwanda and China have instilled in him a skillset and focus that will prove invaluable for ABES. “He’s smart, driven and brings so much to our team. We’re happy to have him aboard and look forward to his contributions to our growing firm.”

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