Burns & McDonnell
Burns & McDonnell was founded in 1898 by Clinton S. Burns and Robert E. McDonnell, who set out to provide sanitary sewers, water works, and electric lights to cities in Kansas and Wyoming.
Burns & McDonnell has since grown into a full-service engineering, architecture, construction, environmental, and consulting solutions firm. It’s one of America’s leading constructors of electric transmission and distribution infrastructure, airports, and fossil fuel and chemical plants. Sectors the company serves include governments, manufacturing, healthcare, telecommunications, transportation, water works, and wastewater.
Burns & McDonnell ranked #14 on Fortune Magazine’s June 2015 list of 100 Best Workplaces for Millennials.
In 1986 Burns & McDonnell did something quite rare for a large US corporation—it declared itself 100% employee-owned. “That really was when everything changed for us,” according to Recruitment Manager Lauren Bertram. “We were at about 600 employees…now we’re at over 5,200 employee-owners. And so that really just propeled us into success…along with Greg Graves becoming CEO in 2004.”
This gives everyone at Burns & McDonnell a vested interest in the success of every client and project. As Bertram put it, “Everyone has skin in the game. You don’t feel like you’re working for ‘the man,’ so to speak, because you are the man. And you are making the company a better place every single day.”
That may be why over 80% of Burns & McDonnell’s projects come from satisfied clients providing repeat business.
It may also be why the company’s employee turnover is, in Bertram’s words, “crazy low—less than 4%. And once someone is fully vested after six years, that drops down to below 1%.”
Bertram also told us, “It’s fun to explain what our career path looks like to people we’re recruiting because it doesn’t look like a typical step-ladder climbing career path…If you come in and hit the ground running, knocking people’s socks off and doing a great job, you will get promoted and you will advance.”