A&O 20th Anniversary – Why A&O?

A&O President Ted Bartelt, PE, at the end of a long week of Bridge Inspection in 2000

By Ted Bartelt, PE, President

Last month, as Christmas approached, it was hard to believe that Alpha & Omega Group would be celebrating its 20 year anniversary in 2018.  It seemed so recent that I started the company with the help of my friend and former co-worker Glenn Zeblo and my wife, Beth, to begin a new journey. Since then, many people have come through our doors over the years to begin their engineering careers, transition from other companies, or move into different careers that they felt called to. 

Throughout our 20 years, many have asked “why did you start the company in the first place?” If you look for the origin of the company name “Alpha & Omega Group” you may have some clue as to why I started it.  Alpha & Omega comes from the book of Revelation in the New Testament “I am theAlpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” Glenn and I wanted to honor the Lord with the business. But it really started before 1998 and with the struggles that impacted my life. 

The “Why” question has its origins in my marriage with Beth, leading up to 1994 After struggling with infertility for several years, we reached a point where we both felt uncomfortable continuing with fertility treatments. Beth and I took the step to stop relying on doctors and start relying on God and praying for a child.  

That initial step of faith immediately led us to meetings and situations that were more than coincidental. Friends led us to Bible Study Fellowship (BSF). I was amazed when I saw that more than 500 men signed up for the study, with dozens of men that I knew. The real sign that I knew I was in the right place was when I sat down, a gentleman sat down beside me and introduced himself as Johnny Evans. I immediately knew who he was – the star NCSU quarterback who led the Wolfpack while I was enrolled at NC State.  So many things fell in place in the summer of 1994 that Beth and I knew our lives were changing. 

Bible on a chair in room set up for Bible study

In September, Beth and I began the study of Moses, and our eyes opened to the true meaning of the word of God. Before this, all the stories I knew as a kid – the burning bush, the plagues, the parting of the red sea, the Passover – were just that to me, stories. I had no idea how those stories were related to Jesus, but I quickly began to understand how the Passover pointed to Christ shedding his blood for us as atonement for my sin. I knew I was a sinner and fell short of the glory of God. 

I also knew I had accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior when I went to buy a Bible for BSF. The gentleman in the Christian book store asked if I needed help in finding something and I told him that I was looking for a New International Version translation of the Bible. He pointed me to a men’s devotional bible and said to let him know if I had any questions.  

I looked through the Bible and one thing jumped out at me. I innocently asked the gentleman what the words in red are in the Bible 

 “The red words are the words that Jesus spoke,he said, smiling. 

“Oh, I said, and foolishly smiled back at him. At that point he asked me if I had accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I knew that deep in my soul I had accepted Jesus and told him so. I had an inner peace that is indescribable. I no longer questioned what happens after death. I knew I would be spending eternity in heaven with Jesus and fellow believers. In September 1994, my life changed forever. 

A&O Vice President, Glenn Zeblo, PE, at a job site in 2002

As I studied, I met with fellow believers and conversed with Beth, thinking about my calling in life. God gifted me with many talents, including engineering, the ability to connect with people, and the ability to think creatively. These talents had led me to leadership positions for the companies that I had worked for. God also placed me with a co-worker, Glenn Zeblo, who worked with me, side by side, since we were fresh out of college. I knew Glenn was a believer and observed his ability to talk to people about Jesus and the truths that originated from the Gospel. He was a strong witness to me in his faith and his work ethic. We both felt called to the engineering profession and our strengths complemented each other’s. 

I observed many people begin businesses and run them as strictly business. There appeared to be no thought of integrating ones faith and profession. As a new Christian, I questioned how can one separate faith from work? How is it possible to run a company, dealing with people every day in the workplace, while keeping faith strictly personal and separate? This is still a prevalent philosophy today! 

As God’s providence would have it, the opportunity presented itself in 1997 to start a company that honored God. The company I had worked for and was part owner of was acquired by a national firm, which allowed me to step out and begin A&O. The acquisition was completed in December 1997, and January 1, 1998 began a new journey in my life. From Revelation 21:6,  "He said to me: 'It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.'"

Next week – How our motto, "Begin with the End in mind," came about.