KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Burns & McDonnell named Chris Underwood general manager of the Business & Technology Solutions (BTS) Group, where he leads the charge to mobilize change in the landscape of the firm and industries it serves.
Underwood leads a team of more than 200 professionals across the U.S. working with clients to advance growth initiatives and develop strategies for success amidst a rapidly changing business environment. The BTS Group provides consulting and advisory services, developing innovative solutions by leveraging emerging technologies to drive impactful business outcomes for its clients.
“Chris’ success comes from an intent focus on what’s next,” says Ray Kowalik, chairman and CEO of Burns & McDonnell. “The acceleration of technology and information requires innovative approaches to finding value from that data and what to do with it. Chris has the ability to leverage his technical aptitude with a highly creative vision, providing value and opportunities for clients.”
A History of Making an Impact at Burns & McDonnell
Underwood started at Burns & McDonnell upon graduation from Marquette University in 2002, working in the BTS Group supporting electric utilities and transmission developers on projects ranging from power system planning studies to regulatory compliance consulting services. His strategic approach led him to become the firm’s manager of transmission development, helping build what is now North America’s largest provider of engineering services in electrical transmission and distribution. Underwood also established a strategic business unit responsible for driving diversified revenue streams through internal innovation, strategic investments and product partnerships.
In addition, Underwood envisioned a program for sparking entrepreneurial ideas and turning them into business opportunities. The result is Ignite, an internal innovation program that encourages Burns & McDonnell employee-owners to turn their ideas into new businesses. Program participants have access to research resources, senior management and experts from the startup community to support the transformation of ideas into actionable and investment-worthy businesses.
Putting Vision into Action
From advising clients on business strategies to leading IT/OT transformation initiatives, and from creating mobile applications for field data collection and asset management solutions to providing holistic cybersecurity solutions, Underwood’s vision is for BTS to provide clients with business opportunities during a time of transformation and guide organizations down a path to faster, smarter and more sustainable solutions.
Underwood has restructured BTS into four groups: security consulting, technology consulting, utility consulting, and strategy and innovation. As he builds the team, he has elevated current employees and recruited industry leaders, bringing together experience in accounting, financial analysis, economics, engineering, security solutions, program management, change management, software development, and information technology.
New roles include:
- Grant Chapin is now strategy and innovation manager, responsible for guiding strategic direction, partnerships, investments and innovation.
- Bryan Hawthorne is now operations and finance manager, responsible for managing the day-to-day operations across Kansas City and eight regional offices.
- Max Dodge joined Burns & McDonnell as business development manager, responsible for managing and overseeing the sales and marketing team and driving revenue growth throughout North America.
- Jeff Kopp is now utility consulting department manager, managing technical and economic specialists providing strategic consulting services to electric, gas and water utility clients.
New team members include:
- Steve Dresie, technology consulting manager.
- Kevin Fuller, security consulting manager.
- Dana Houston Jackson, project and change manager.
- Robb Montgomery, technology consulting project manager.
- Kevin Norman, strategic partnership manager.
- Matt Olearczyk, utility consulting project manager.
“Our differentiator at Burns & McDonnell is that not only do we understand our clients’ business through living it day to day, but we have a 120-year-old track record of delivering results,” says Underwood. “We know the industries intimately we serve and we are able to provide well-informed strategies and road maps for success. Our knowledge, depth and commitment allows us to execute the plan and convert concepts into meaningful outcomes for our clients.”
About Burns & McDonnell
Burns & McDonnell is a family of companies made up of more than 6,000 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 on Fortune’s 2018 list of 100 Best Companies to Work For.