Burns & McDonnell to add 1,000 jobs, including 500 in Kansas City within three years
Burns & McDonnell to add 1,000 jobs, including 500 in Kansas City within three years
Burns & McDonnell to add 1,000 jobs, including 500 in Kansas City within three years
08/31/2011 3 minute read

Total firm employment nationwide is projected to hit 4,000 due to continued strong demand for engineering, architecture, construction, environmental and consulting services in all 10 operating divisions. Burns & McDonnell also signed a lease extension for its office building on State Line Road in Kansas City, Mo.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Burns & McDonnell expects to add 1,000 jobs, including 500 in its Kansas City workforce by year-end 2013 due to continued strong demand for engineering, architecture, construction, environmental and consulting services in all 10 operating divisions. The three-year growth projections should push total employment nationwide past the 4,000 mark, with 2,700 based in Kansas City, Mo.

As a step toward securing the additional space it needs, Burns & McDonnell announced that it has agreed to an eight-year lease extension that will keep 400 employee-owners in a 145,000-square-foot office building it currently occupies at 9201 State Line Road in Kansas City, Mo. That building has been occupied by Burns & McDonnell since 2007 when it relocated its Aviation & Facilities and Healthcare & Research Facilities divisions to the building. The building formerly was occupied by Swiss Re after it acquired the Kansas City operations of GE Reinsurance.

The State Line Road lease transaction comes a little more than one year after Burns & McDonnell agreed to a 15-year lease extension and agreement that will accommodate more than 2,000 employee-owners in its headquarters complex at 9300/9400 Ward Parkway. The 217,000 square-foot 9300 wing of the complex is currently being renovated. When the interior office renovations are complete in October, Burns & McDonnell will move more than 500 employee-owners from an office building it currently occupies at 10450 Holmes Road. Burns & McDonnell has occupied the 120,000-square-foot Holmes Road office building since 2006.

"Employee ownership works. To prove it, all you have to do is look at our growth rate over the past few years," said Greg Graves, Burns & McDonnell chairman, president and CEO. "Looking ahead, we have no reason to think that the trend won't continue."

"Burns & McDonnell is a real Missouri business success story," said Steve Tilley, speaker of the Missouri House of Representatives. "They have continued to grow despite the economic slowdown. We are excited to see them continue their investment in people and in their world headquarters facility."

The expected 500-person increase in local Kansas City employment over the next three-years is based on strong projected demand for large-scale infrastructure and capital improvements among both public- and private-sector clients. Specialty areas with the strongest outlooks include electrical transmission and distribution, air quality control systems for power generation facilities, construction design/build, combined heat and power facilities, nuclear plant upgrades, food processing and petrochemical processing plant upgrades, environmental remediation of soil and groundwater and architectural design. At mid-year, Burns & McDonnell sales were 56 percent ahead of sales totals a year earlier and project backlog, defined as work that was booked but yet to be performed, was 15 percent ahead of backlog a year ago.

"We have always been conservative in our real estate planning, only adding space when the need was immediate, not sometime in the future," Graves said. "We have never had much margin for error in our space planning so we have been scrambling a little bit in the past few months. We're very pleased with our agreement to stay at State Line because it keeps us in an attractive office building that our people like and because it gives us some breathing room to plan for the additional space we will need as we get closer to the 4,000 threshold."

Burns & McDonnell has added more than 150 employee-owners so far in 2011 and expects to add about 150 more by year end. Of that total, approximately 150 net new positions will be added in Kansas City and 150 in regional offices across the country. By year-end, the total headcount in Kansas City is projected to be 2,200 and 3,300 nationwide.

Earlier this year, Burns & McDonnell launched a $25 million renovation of its Ward Parkway Campus, including a total tear-out and rebuild of the 9300 wing formerly occupied by J.P. Morgan Retirement Plan Services. In addition, Burns & McDonnell is constructing a new 9,000-square-foot, 450-seat auditorium and conference center, wellness clinic, fitness center and expanded food service facility. When all phases of the project are complete in mid-2012, the Burns & McDonnell headquarters campus will total nearly 500,000-square-feet. The signature office complex, located near the junction of Ward Parkway, Wornall Road and 95th Street in South Kansas City, was originally constructed in the mid-1980s by Ewing M. Kauffman to serve as world headquarters for Marion Laboratories.

Burns & McDonnell purchased the building and surrounding campus in December 1994 from a successor company to Marion Laboratories. Burns & McDonnell moved into the building in 1996 after completing renovations to the building. As a result of the move, Burns & McDonnell vacated a two-story office building at 63rd and Elmwood, near Swope Park, that it had occupied since 1959. In 2001, Burns & McDonnell sold the office complex to the James Campbell Family Trust and, as part of the transaction, executed a 15-year lease for 269,000-square-feet of space in the 9400 Building. Under terms of the recently executed 15-year lease, Burns & McDonnell will occupy the Ward Parkway building until 2026.

About Burns & McDonnell

Burns & McDonnell provides engineering, architecture, construction, environmental and consulting services to clients throughout North America and abroad. More than 3,000 engineers, architects, scientists, planners, estimators, economists, technicians and other professionals work in more than 30 regional, national and international offices. Founded in 1898, Burns & McDonnell is 100 percent employee-owned and is currently ranked No. 20 on the Engineering News-Record Top 500 Design Firms.

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