Delta 3 Engineering takes pride in 20 years of clients, relationships

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — Just over 20 years ago, Dan Dreessens, Bart Nies and Scott Chyko took a leap of faith and stuck the landing.

Delta 3 Engineering, of Platteville and Dubuque, is the product of that leap.

The company’s primary location is situated in the shadow of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville campus and offers a variety of civil, environmental, wastewater and structural engineering services, as well surveying, grant writing and other services its founders say are valuable to have all under one roof.

“One of our specialties is our ability to do everything across a lot of different engineering disciplines,” said Nies, who along with Dreessens and Chyko founded the company in 2003. Chyko retired in 2022.

That versatility — as well as an emphasis on building trust and communication channels with its clients — has propelled Delta 3 into its third decade of existence.


After more than 20 years in business, Dreessens and Nies can’t help but reminisce on the company’s birth.

The three men worked at now-closed Blackhawk Engineering, of Platteville, and are all UW-P graduates. While they worked together at Blackhawk, that wasn’t their long-term goal.

“When I graduated, I was offered a position at Blackhawk,” Nies said. “I told my previous boss that I wanted my own company. At the time, he said that’s great, but you can’t get your professional engineer’s license unless you pass an exam and you have four years of work under another (professional engineer).”

When the time came in the early 2000s for Nies to start thinking about branching out, he realized it would be quite expensive.

“I figured there was no way I was going to afford this myself,” he said. “Dan and Scott were working (at Blackhawk) full time, and we had all worked there for eight to 10 years. I went to them and said, ‘Hey, do you want to try and buy in?’”

As it turned out, the others also thought it was a good idea. Their spouses and other family members also encouraged them to take their leap of faith.

The initial plan was to purchase Blackhawk.

“That didn’t work, so then we decided, OK, well, let’s start our own company,” Nies said. “We made this decision within a day, and we suddenly needed space.”

That was 2003, and Platteville Business Incubator, which was two years old at the time, came in handy. The incubator opened in 2001 and since has helped over 70 businesses by providing workspace, coaching, loans and a variety of other services, according to its website.

The space provided useful to Delta 3’s founders, but it was humble beginnings.

“It was three old church basement chairs and a card table and one computer, and away we go,” Nies said.

Delta 3’s first client was a now-defunct church in Fennimore. Soon after came the village of Cassville, which still works with the business today. Chyko, Dreessens and Nies also retained most of the clients they worked with at Blackhawk, Dreessens said.

Nies said client-engineer relationships are key to success for both sides. Trust in each other is vital.

“It’s all about trust and respect,” Nies said. “You lose trust, you won’t have clients.”

Over time, Delta 3 grew. It navigated the economic downturn of the late aughts by adding services and leaned even more on its municipal clients as investment in the private sector temporarily waned.

In 2010, the trio purchased the business’ current Platteville location at 875 S. Chestnut St., which was a former convention center. After gutting it and working 90-plus hour weeks to complete the buildout, Delta 3’s new location was ready to roll.

“We had really young families, and they had to sacrifice,” Nies said. “There were things we didn’t get to do or go to because we were literally building our offices at night by hand (by) putting up stud walls, drywall, whatever, and then doing engineering during the day. It was nothing to do 100-hour weeks. It was a lot of stress, and it was a very important year and a half in our lives, and without a doubt, no questions asked, I wish I would have done it sooner.”


Project manager Joe Bailie described Delta 3’s culture as a “family atmosphere.” It is partially what drew him to the company when he started there 20 years ago.

“We check up on each other when someone’s going through a rough time or needs help with something.” Bailie said. “But, we celebrate outside of the workplace, as well.”

Including its upcoming 11 summer interns, Delta 3 has 46 employees spread out between its Platteville and Dubuque offices, the latter of which opened in 2019.

Delta 3’s client base includes upwards of 90 municipalities, including Platteville, Dickeyville and Kieler in Wisconsin and Sherrill, Balltown and Dubuque in Iowa.

From pickleball courts to the Broske Center to sidewalks, Delta 3 has had a hand in projects across Platteville. The company serves as the city’s primary engineer.

“They bring a community-first feel to things,” said Platteville City Manager Clint Langreck. “They are here and involved in the community, so when they pick up public work, it’s for their community, and they take pride in what they do.”

The company also works with a bevy of private clients. Its primary work radius is two hours from Platteville or Dubuque, but it has clients in about half of the U.S. states.

“We work with a lot of the cheese plants around the area,” Dreessens said. “In any given year, I’d say half of our work associated with building has to do with cheese. We also do a lot with breweries.”

The work is vast and time consuming. Nies said Delta 3 employees make sacrifices.

“Their hard work and commitment is another reason for the success we’ve had,” he said.


Two of the original Delta 3 remain with the company. Chyko occasionally stops into the office for consulting, but Dreessens and Nies handle most of the management duties.

They recently sold some 5% shares of the company — including to Bailie — as a way to look ahead to the future.

They also anticipate expansion in the future at the Platteville office, and perhaps beyond. Opening another office in a new community is certainly not out of the long-term equation.

The business also supports the UW-P engineering program, a relationship that benefits all involved.

“All of our engineers are from UW-P, so that’s a great connection,” Dreessens said, adding Delta 3 donates money, time and expertise to the college. “They can be our future employees. It keeps some of the kids here (in Platteville). We have a lot better chance to hire a local student and have them stick around then hiring from out of the area.”

Nies attributes Delta 3’s success to not only its employees, but also its clients.

“I can’t express how important it is to us to have our clients, especially the ones that we’ve grown with,” Nies said. “It’s not just teamwork in getting the work done, it’s that team concept with our clients. Because some of them, honestly, are really good friends. … That is extremely important to me because we developed those relationships, and they are truly, basically, the reason we still love what we do.”