Our Foundation

The company’s roots were established in August 1978 as Van Sickle Allen & Associates, Inc. by Founders, Dick Van Sickle and Chuck Allen. After working for a construction company the two decided to open their own firm initially housed in the Wesley Temple Building in downtown Minneapolis. Dick and Chuck also owned 50% of Grain Facility Design (GFD) – a sister company specializing in planning and mergers for grain and feed facilities. The two firms collectively had 10 employees – Van Sickle Allen & Associates providing structural engineering for commercial and agribusiness projects while GFD established its reputation in the agricultural industry.

Growing relationships with contractors and architects kept Van Sickle Allen & Associates busy while and diligent efforts helped propel GFD into the agricultural spotlight. Additional resources were needed to maintain the engineering and drafting workload. Reg Silverthorne joined Van Sickle Allen & Associates one year after the company had formed. Although work was relatively steady, GFD was dissolved in 1990 to merge with Van Sickle Allen & Associates to maximize engineering and design efforts.

The firm converted to VAA in 2007. Our commitment to offering architects, owners and design build contractor’s a genuine partnership to help accomplish their business objectives remains unchanged. The work VAA performs is beyond the project. It is about helping the people we work with through development of client relationships.

Our work is fueled by our foundation and team commitment to VAA’s Vision and Values. The nine interchangeable phrases created by the six words of our vision statement not only represent who we are, it embodies our business philosophy and client relationships. This vision aligns with the values that drive VAA - integrity, excellence, service and relationships. With these original principles guiding our growth, we are proud to be VAA.


Our People

It all starts with our people. Each of the three CEO's in VAA's history has shared the same sentiment: "Our people are our greatest assets." From young technicians to experienced engineers to the team of Partners leading the company, we strive to place the right people in the right places to provide the strongest results.

VAA’s service strength is powered by people who understand the level of engineering, planning, and communication needed between engineering, equipment suppliers and contractors for construction activities to progress. As a multidiscipline firm, we can coordinate among team members to identify potential risks and gaps on projects. Sharing the information with clients leads to informed decision and keeps their best interest at the core of design details.


Our Culture

We know not everyone gets excited by differential equations or when calculating the modulus of subgrade. But instead of trying to escape our “nerdier” side, VAA employees are encouraged to embrace it. Technically, we are squares. Culturally, we are so much more.

The people have spoken! Based on employee survey feedback, the three squares and their definitions represent key elements to VAA’s culture. Each of us has a different story or way of relating to this message; however, we have one thing in common – we are proud to be squared.

E² = Employee Engagement

1. We like being well

2. Opportunities to grow

F² = Friendly + Flexible

1. Genuinely friendly people

2. We value work and play

T² = Trust + Team

1. Your interest is our inspiration

2. Team on all levels


Our Work

VAA delivers nationwide engineering services along with expanding international project efforts to architects, owners and design-build contractors. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota with a satellite office in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the firm offers planning and design affiliated with new facilities / buildings, remodels and expansions, but also strategic planning and process design for well-known national companies and beloved local brands.

We specialize in bulk processing facilities, including material handling, transportation and export. The firm offers master planning, life-safety code analyses; track design and civil, structural, marine, mechanical, process and electrical engineering services. Experience internationally and coast-to-coast has bolstered a resume in seismic and high coastal wind design along with an understanding of regional construction techniques for agribusiness, industrial and commercial markets.

Explore samples of the projects and results we have delivered in each of our major submarkets.


Our Business

We recognize the importance of moving forward with focus and intention. VAA’s 2030 Vision, or ten-year strategic plan, provides a long-term roadmap for enhancing company culture by becoming the place to work while leading as technical experts in respective service areas. Four areas outlined in annual strategies relate to customer needs, employee and corporate growth, and financial milestones to accomplish by 2030. With these values and objectives in mind, we continue to work towards and better serve our business partners and each VAA employee.