CINCINNATI, Ohio (Dec. 15, 2016) — James Nicholas has joined Burns & McDonnell as a project manager in the Environmental Studies & Permitting Group, where he will lead routing, siting and permitting projects and programs for energy clients in the upper Midwest and across the country. He is based in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he has more than 20 years of experience working on and leading teams through siting analysis, strategic permit planning and permit preparation for energy facilities, including electric transmission lines, gas pipelines, power generation facilities, landfills and associated infrastructure.
For more than 15 years, Nicholas has led a siting and permitting group that conducted feasibility studies selected sites, established routes and secured permits for dozens of major projects throughout the country, including many projects in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Missouri. These projects included ecological, cultural and socioeconomic field and impact studies, followed by the associated permitting, mitigation, restoration, stormwater plan preparation, construction inspection and monitoring.
In addition to leading a siting and permitting group, Nicholas has been managing and performing such studies since 1994. In his nearly 23 years of experience he has fulfilled multiple roles — including project manager, principal and market lead. Most recently he has worked with both transmission applicants and regulators to navigate the complex and geographically diverse FERC Order 1000 competitive market. With the addition of Nicholas, the Burns & McDonnell team has added another experienced resource and significantly bolstered an already strong ability to assist transmission operators with FERC 1000 applications across the country.
“With James, we are providing our clients with even more opportunities to gain quality and efficiency using our integrated project delivery approach,” says Mark Van Dyne, vice president of the Environmental Studies & Permitting Group. “We already design and build transmission lines throughout the region. Now we’re strengthening our ability to provide the planning, studies and other services that help our clients’ projects be even more successful.”
After completing his master’s degree and a doctorate in geography — specializing in arctic and coastal physical geography and geomorphology — Nicholas spent three years as an adjunct professor of geography at the University of Cincinnati while establishing his full-time career as a consultant. In 2011 he presented a paper regarding an innovative process for siting CCR (coal combustion residuals) landfills during the World of Coal Ash Conference in Denver, and has been called upon to provide expert testimony in electric transmission and pipeline siting cases before the Ohio Public Utilities Commission.
Nicholas has worked on projects that have cleared the way for design and construction by Burns & McDonnell, and he welcomes the opportunity to bring his skills and experience to the Kansas City, Missouri-based firm that is ranked No. 1 in both Power and Transmission and Distribution by Engineering News-Record.
“I’ve always been impressed by the client-first approach taken by the employee-owners at Burns & McDonnell,” Nicholas says. “Employee ownership is more than a corporate structure, or even a mentality. It’s a culture, and it’s empowering. I’m looking forward to helping our existing clients become even more successful, and to developing new relationships that can make a difference for everyone involved.”
See videos of James Nicholas on:
- Navigating FERC 1000: What to consider when venturing outside your region
- Delivering solutions: How solving clients’ challenges generates job satisfaction
- Gaining an advantage: How to protect against barriers that could derail a project
About Burns & McDonnell
Burns & McDonnell is a company made up of more than 5,300 engineers, architects, construction professionals, scientists, consultants and entrepreneurs with offices across the country and throughout the world. We strive to create amazing success for our clients and amazing careers for our employee-owners. Burns & McDonnell is 100 percent employee-owned and is proud to be No. 16 on Fortune’s 2016 list of 100 Best Companies to Work For.