Burns & McDonnell recently announced several key leadership promotions to president, senior vice president, and vice president after a record year of sales for the 100% employee-owned engineering, construction, and architecture firm. These individuals contributed to a year that produced US$5.3 billion in sales, resulted in the support of nearly 15,000 projects, and included the addition of more than 600 employees.
"While we are in crisis mode frequently with our clients — from hurricanes to wildfires — the pandemic is unlike anything we have encountered," said Ray Kowalik, chairman and CEO of Burns & McDonnell. "Engineers are known problem solvers, and that helped us pivot and uncover solutions to the numerous challenges the pandemic was presenting to our clients and communities. Even though we had hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of projects cancel, our employee-owners stepped up and found new ways to solve our clients' challenges and have a record sales year. The employee-owners we promoted exemplify the values that have been critical to our success and growth."
Mike Fenske has been promoted to president in the Global Facilities Group, which he had led as general manager since 2013. Under Fenske's leadership, the Global Facilities Group has grown annual revenues 30% each year, from US$76 million to US$725 million. The group now employs more than 700 employee-owners nationwide.
Fenske joined the firm in 1992 as part of the firm's aviation business. Since then, he has held numerous leadership roles in a variety of industries. He has been instrumental in the expansion of the firm's design-build capabilities across markets, including manufacturing, industrial, commercial, and mission-critical.
New senior vice presidents include the following employee-owners:
After serving as general manager of the California offices for Burns & McDonnell for more than a decade, Renita Mollman became chief administrative officer in 2020. In this role, Mollman leads many of the firm's operational departments, including human resources, corporate marketing, and the Burns & McDonnell Foundation, among others.
Mollman began her career as a civil engineer at Burns & McDonnell in 1988 in Kansas City, providing aviation design and construction services across the United States. In 2009, she was promoted to general manager for the California region and in 2011 to vice president. Under her leadership, this regional team grew from just a few employees to more than 250, the firm was named a best place to work seven times in Southern California, and revenue nearly quadrupled.
As general manager of the Environmental Services Group at Burns & McDonnell, Nalefski leads more than 450 professionals dedicated to helping clients determine their most effective and cost-efficient environmental solutions.
With 35 years of experience, Nalefski has focused his career in environmental management consulting, with an emphasis on environmental assessment and remediation. A registered geologist in multiple states, he led project teams on complex cleanup programs worldwide, most notably in the petroleum and chemical industries. Nalefski joined the firm five years ago from a global engineering firm.
Breck Washam is general manager of the St. Louis office for Burns & McDonnell. He joined Burns & McDonnell in 1990 as a mechanical engineer and has held positions of increasing responsibility throughout his 30-year tenure.
Since being selected to lead the office in 2007, Washam has grown the regional team to more than 260 employee-owners, creating new opportunities for the firm and delivering high-quality engineering and construction solutions regionwide. Under his leadership, Burns & McDonnell has consistently been recognized in St. Louis as a Top Workplace, a Healthiest Employer, a leading philanthropic firm, and one of the largest engineering firms.
New vice presidents and members of the Burns & McDonnell officer group include the following employee-owners:
Karen Bray is director of process and project development for the Oil, Gas & Chemical (OGC) Group, leading and managing approximately 100 process engineering employee-owners across the firm's offices. Prior to her current role, Bray led the firm's chemicals group for five years, building a successful business from the ground up that now represents one-third of the OGC Group's work.
Since joining Burns & McDonnell in 2002, Bray has worked with clients in the chemical, midstream, and refining industries. A process and project engineer for the first nine years, Bray spent time in the field during both the design and construction phases of engineer-procure-construct projects.
Hyun Kim, since joining Burns & McDonnell in 2006, has served in the role of lead engineer, project manager, department manager, and currently is the Transmission & Distribution operations director in the firm's Houston office. He oversees multiple business lines within the office and leads nearly 250 employee-owners to create growth and development opportunities.
In his 29 years of experience, Kim has been involved in the engineering, design, and construction of electrical generation, transmission and distribution systems. His experience ranges from designing low- and medium-voltage switchgear and motor controllers to high-voltage substations to automation to relay settings to EPC execution and testing and commissioning.
Matt Olson is managing director of the firm's Telecom Group. In his role, Olson helps utility clients develop networks that support their entire organization. This includes helping them understand how to manage information; designing systems in 3D models; and designing multimillion-dollar, utilitywide fiber networks. Olson is an electrical engineer specializing in telecommunications systems and carrier network design, converged network architecture, and network management systems (NMS).
In his 20 years of experience, he has supervised the design of more than 1000 substations of packet network deployment, planned network construction with hundreds of nodes being installed per year, and delivered the applications cutover onto them in as little as a few months. He has also developed industry-leading documentation systems that allow for fast, cost-effective, and holistic document management.