Burns & McDonnell, after growing to 5,000 employees and boosting revenues by 25 percent in 2014, is opening the new year with an expanded executive roster.
The 116-year-old, Kansas City-based engineering firm has promoted Ray Kowalik, the head of its energy division, to a new post over all of the company’s 11 business divisions.
Kowalik, 50, becomes Burns & McDonnell’s first executive vice president and president of global practices. He will report directly to chairman and chief executive Greg Graves, 56.
In announcing the creation of Kowalik’s positions, the company said it had been operating with the previous structure since 2003. It didn’t fit a company with 5,000 employees, Graves said.
“I’ve been feeling the pressure ever since we hit 4,000” employees, Graves said. “You sort of get more removed from things.”
The shift means each of the company’s 11 division managers will report directly to Kowalik, having previously reported to Graves. And for the first time, the company has an executive focused solely on the strategic development of the business divisions.
Kowalik’s attention to the 11 divisions frees Graves’ focus for other matters, from its international expansion and new offices to employee conditions.
“This gives me a chance to work on new Burns and Mac and let Ray focus on how to improve current Burns and Mac,” Graves said.
Graves continues his direct oversight of the company’s executive suite of chief financial, administrative and technical officers and its general counsel. The president of Burns & McDonnell International, a post created in September, and the president of regional offices also still report to Graves.
Although Kowalik becomes the company’s only executive vice president, Graves said the job does not raise him to second-in-command status. It reflects instead additional duties Kowalik will take on through special assignments, such as the company’s organizational structure or bonding and insurance.
As president of global practices, Kowalik will focus on the company’s 11 principal lines of business. Those include energy, such as building the Iatan 2 power station for Kansas City Power & Light, and transmission and distribution, which involves power lines. Additional practices cover work in water, aviation, environmental, transportation, construction and other services.
In the announcement, Kowalik said one of his jobs would be looking for new global practices to expand the company’s expertise and offerings.
“We have some exciting initiatives in the works and anticipate steady growth ahead, particularly in our regional and international offices,” Kowalik said in the announcement.
Kowalik, an employee for 27 years, has led the energy division since 2004 when he became its general manager as Graves, then president of energy, became chief executive of the company. Kowalik was named president of energy in 2007.
The company promoted Rick Halil to general manager of the energy division, succeeding Kowalik. Halil since 1989 has been a mechanical engineer in the energy division.
Burns & McDonnell added Kowalik to its board of directors in 2009, one of three division leaders added to fill a vacancy and increase the board from five to seven.
Burns & McDonnell, employee owned for more than 25 years, is one of several prominent engineering firms in the Kansas City area. It ranks among the nation’s 25 largest design firms, along with Black & Veatch based in Overland Park and HNTB in Kansas City, according to annual rankings by Engineering News-Record.
Its revenues grew to $2.4 billion in 2014, Burns & McDonnell said, having reported $1.9 billion in revenues in 2013. The company does not report its earnings publicly.
The new year also brings a new logo at Burns & McDonnell. It shows the company’s name in all capital letters and incorporates a stylized ampersand. The current design dates back nearly 25 years.
The company also added a tagline, “Create Amazing,” to its brand.
Burns & McDonnell, an employee-owned engineering firm based in Kansas City, grew to 5,000 employees globally at the end of last year.
2014 – 5,000
2013 – 4,300
2012 – 3,700
2011 – 3,300
Source: Burns & McDonnell