Bruce Moia and MBV
Some people live their whole lives in the same community where they were born and eventually feel they should have ventured out more. But not Bruce Moia, who grew up in Melbourne Beach, went to Gemini Elementary, Hoover Middle School and then Mel High before graduating from Florida Tech as a civil engineer.
“I’ve never lived north of the Pineda Causeway and never wanted to live anywhere else,” he said.
The son of a civil engineer who worked as a project manager in airports for Pan American Airways all over the world, Moia caught the engineering bug in high school drafting class and even worked for BRPH as a draftsman while in college. During his senior year at FIT, he worked at the company he now leads. His path, however, detoured to the city of Melbourne where he became its review engineer and then to Brevard County as county engineer. He was eventually recruited back as a full partner in what became MBV Engineering, Inc. in Vero in 2002.
Two years later, he and his two partners, Aaron Bowles and Rodolfo Villamizar, bought the company.
Moia is a civil engineer who specializes in roads, drainage and master planned communities. Aaron Bowles, also a civil engineer, specializes in environmental engineering, and Rodolfo Villamizar leads the firm’s structural engineering efforts. After forming MBV, the company grew to almost 35 people in six years and now includes sister companies Florida Environmental Consulting, Inc. and Indian River Survey, Inc. Moia eventually opened an office in Melbourne, which has grown to 12 employees.
Moving from being solely an engineer to also running a business was a challenging transition. “I learned almost all of it on the job, but fortunately we’ve had some very talented people who have been with us for years and have taken a lot of the load off me,” he said.
The whole world knows what happened to the construction industry in 2008. Like other firms, Moia and his partners fought to keep the company afloat. “It was a difficult time,” he said. “Our Melbourne office shrunk to just myself. Our Vero office was our primary breadwinner, as we were well established with municipal projects in that region to keep us going.”
Making It Work
Today, MBV’s philosophy is based on hiring well-qualified people and letting them learn and grow.
“We don’t micromanage, and this allows people to acquire new skills and grow professionally,” Moia said. “Do they occasionally make mistakes? Yes … but this is part of the learning process, and we usually catch it first. We know the employees are the company, and when things are good, we want to share the rewards of success with them.”
The partnership has also flourished. He attributes this to no one having an agenda that is at odds with the agenda of the company. Agreement on key decisions and the fact that Moia is in Melbourne and his partners are in Vero ensures the company does not seem top heavy and even engenders a friendly competition between the two offices. According to Moia, his partners possess amazing skill sets that have precipitated the company’s success. “Aaron is our people person,” he said. “He knows everyone and everyone likes him. You can’t go into a restaurant in Vero where someone doesn’t call out, ‘Hey Aaron!’ That quality, along with his professional acumen, have brought us a lot of business.”
He added that Rodolfo is one of the smartest and most technically savvy people he knows. “Structural is such an exact science, with no margin for error,” he stressed. “Also, we’re always there for each other, as there are inevitable times when one of us has a life interruption.”
By investing in the community through its involvement in multiple organizations — from economic development, to chambers, to trade associations and boards — MBV has positioned itself as a supportive part of the community its employees live, work and play in.
“Fortunately we don’t have to chase a lot of work,” said Moia. “Much of it comes through satisfied customers, with whom we have done multiple projects, especially in Vero. Our relationship with the various municipalities is also very strong, and that provides a great balance to the projects we take on in the private sector.”
Moia foresees bringing on additional, younger partners to ensure the company’s future as the stage is set for another round of exceptional growth. This is good news for the Space Coast, which has benefitted from MBV Engineering’s outstanding work and customer service, as well as the company’s strong involvement in philanthropic charities and community organizations throughout the region.