Heart of America Chapter of the ESOP Association honors Burns & McDonnell employee-owner.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Heart of America (HOA) Chapter of the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) Association has named Curt Wardlow as the employee-owner of the year. Curt, the manager of IT Business Relations at Burns & McDonnell, receives this honor for being an outstanding steward of employee-ownership, as well as demonstrating citizenship within the company.
"I am honored by this recognition and feel extremely fortunate to have been an employee-owner for the majority of my career," says Curt. "The culture employee-ownership creates truly fosters an entrepreneurial approach to every decision you make. I'm always asking is this the best move for our clients and employee-owners?"
Curt started as an electrical detailer at Burns & McDonnell in 1979 and was one of the original employee-owners when the company experienced a rebirth in 1986 becoming 100 percent employee-owned. It was a defining moment for Curt who remembers that chilly morning in 1994 when the Board of Directors ceremoniously burned the mortgage.
"All of the employee-owners were handed fake mortgage slips, and you had your chance to toss it into the fiery drum to celebrate Burns & McDonnell moving forward as a 100 percent employee-owned company," says Curt. "Watching that last mortgage payment burn was overwhelming and amazing all at the same time."
Since then, Curt has been committed to quietly lead by example. He has served as a mentor for new employee-owners entering the firm and seeks out civic opportunities, such as the United Way, that promote community impact, volunteerism and philanthropic engagement.
"Curt embodies employee-ownership at its best," says Melissa Wood, chief administrative officer of Burns & McDonnell. "Curt promotes our culture of respect, shared responsibility and duty to each other, which translates into enhanced productivity, greater employee retention and much better service for clients — not to mention a great environment to spend your career."
Curt is now nominated to become the national ESOP Association Employee-Owner of the year. The winner will be announced at the National ESOP Conference in May of 2015.