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Samuel Engineering remodeling offices at North First and Willis streets

A Colorado-based engineering venture may be filling the void left by the shuttering of Lauren Engineers &Constructors. 

Colorado-based Samuel Engineering Inc. is renovating the former Abilene National Bank building at North First and Willis streets to serve as offices for itself and its sister company, Samuel EPC Inc. EPC stands for engineering, procurement and construction.

Riddled with bad energy-related loans, ANB was closed by federal regulators in August 1982 and its assets sold to Mercantile Texas Corp. Banks, businesses and nonprofits sporadically have called the location home since then. 

The Samuel companies have common private ownership, said Randy Barbee, director of business development. The Hawley native and former Lauren employee joined the new venture when it expanded its Texas operations last year with the opening of offices in Abilene and Tyler. 

Samuel Engineering provides multi-disciplinary engineering and design services nationally and worldwide for multiple heavy industries, including mining and minerals, oil and gas, solar and utilities.

The move to Texas allows the firm to better serve the energy sector, especially midstream services and operations in the Permian Basin, Barbee said.

The interior of the former Abilene National Bank at 3402 North First St. is being renovated for joint offices for Samuel Engineering and Samuel EPC.

“They had been looking for something in Texas for quite some time and wanting to get into the direct-hire business where they actually hire construction workers versus using subcontractors,” Barbee said.

Fabrication and construction is the specialty of Samuel EPC, which currently is leasing space at the former 35-acre Lauren Engineers & Constructors production facility at South Treadaway Boulevard and South 18th Street.

Lauren Engineers and Constructors filed bankruptcy in April 2021, and its assets were sold at auction two months later. The moves followed the death of company founder and CEO Charles “Cleve” Whitener in a light plane crash that killed two others in February 2020.