John Olander Named Burns & McDonnell Chief Operating Officer
John Olander Named Burns & McDonnell Chief Operating Officer
John Olander Named Burns & McDonnell Chief Operating Officer
12/17/2018 2 minute read

KANSAS CITY, Missouri — John Olander has been promoted to chief operating officer of Burns & McDonnell. As the first COO in the firm’s history and now the second-highest ranking officer, Olander will add more robust management support during a time of rapid company growth and increasingly complex business operations. He will focus on implementing a range of best practices across the entire company while continuing to lead the Transmission & Distribution (T&D) Group along with the Technology Solutions and Strategic Initiatives groups.

“In typical Burns & Mac fashion, John has already been executing many of the functions of a COO through his leadership of our Technology and Strategic Initiatives groups on top of his day-to-day role with T&D,” says Ray Kowalik, Chairman and CEO of Burns & McDonnell. “I believe having a close tie to our business needs is what makes John so strong at leading technology solutions and he has done a great job in this role.

“Moving forward, you can expect to see John work with the organization to create consistent, efficient processes, build and share best practices and leverage the intelligence of our firm across the organization.”

Burns & McDonnell expects to book a record $4 billion in sales in 2018, the first time it has reached that mark, and finish the year with approximately 7,000 employees worldwide. The firm has hired more than 1,000 new employees during 2018 and has announced plans to complete the second phase of its world headquarters expansion in Kansas City with the addition of a 142,000-square-foot, four-story building. Construction of a new multilevel parking garage began this year and work on the new building will commence in early 2019.

“Our entire company is benefiting from many of the same trends that are fueling growth of our T&D Group,” Olander says. “Basically, there is a growing need for more resiliency in our essential infrastructure and that includes everything from power systems to manufacturing, data centers, military and defense, airports, water treatment, roads and bridges and much more. We may be the most broadly diversified company in our industry, so it is an exciting time to be at Burns & Mac.”

As president of the T&D Group, Olander leads more than 1,500 engineering and technical professionals and hundreds more employee-owners in other divisions who support T&D projects. Burns & McDonnell is perennially ranked as the industry’s No. 1 Transmission and Distribution engineering design firm by Engineering News-Record magazine. The work is a key reason why Burns & McDonnell is projected to hire 1,000 or more new employees each year for the foreseeable future. The T&D Group works with all the largest electric utilities in North America including multibillion-dollar programs and EPC projects.

Olander joined Burns & McDonnell in 1991 and has been part of the T&D Group since 1995. By 1998, he had been promoted to a project management role, leading a challenging engineer-procure-construct (EPC) project in Texas that soon led to other similar roles on progressively larger EPC projects, including one in 2005 that was then the largest in the industry. In 2008, Olander was promoted to vice president and in 2012 was named general manager. He received his engineering degree in 1989 from North Dakota State University and in 1996 received his MBA from the University of Kansas. 

In addition to his professional roles, Olander serves on the Board of Trustees for the Mid America Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and serves on its governance committee. He also serves as an Advisory Board Director for the Blue Valley School District Center for Advanced Professional Studies program, a nationally recognized initiative that enables high school students to accelerate their entry into higher education or a career track into high-skill, high-demand jobs.

About Burns & McDonnell

Burns & McDonnell is a family of companies made up of 7,000 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.

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