KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Raymond “Ray” B. Luhnow Jr., the second president of Burns & McDonnell, died June 6 at the age of 97.
Luhnow had an illustrious career at Burns & McDonnell, joining the firm in 1946 after serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He was instrumental in developing a significant presence for the firm on the East Coast during the 1960s and leading the firm after it was purchased by Armco Steel in the 1970s. He retired in 1982, after 36 years with the firm, serving the last eight years as president.
“Ray successfully led Burns & McDonnell through challenging years under Armco Steel, diversified the firm’s services and doubled the number of employees from 650 to 1,300,” says Ray Kowalik, chairman and CEO of Burns & McDonnell. “A man of high integrity, his optimism and versatility as an engineer, businessman and leader have left a lasting impression on Burns & McDonnell and who we are today.”
Luhnow graduated from the University of Illinois with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering in 1944 and received a Master of Business Administration from the University of Missouri in 1964.
From 1943-1946, he served in the United States Naval Reserve as an Engineering Officer (Lieutenant Junior Grade) in the Pacific aboard the USS Sanborn and USS Chestnut, operating their steam and diesel plants during World War II.
Luhnow joined Burns & McDonnell on Aug. 1, 1946. Robert (Bob) H. McDonnell, the first president of Burns & McDonnell and son of co-founder Robert E. McDonnell, personally hired and recruited him. His areas of specialty as a design engineer were in waterworks, power plants, sewage plants, airports and industrial facilities.
In 1964, Luhnow was made a partner. He established the New York office of Burns & McDonnell in 1966. In 1971, he was made administrative vice president and, in 1973, was elected executive vice president. He was selected as president the following year.
In 2008, Luhnow was recognized with the Burns & McDonnell Clinton S. Burns Award — one of the highest honors the firm bestows upon an employee — for his significant contributions to technical excellence and leadership.
About Burns & McDonnell
Burns & McDonnell is a family of companies bringing together an unmatched team of 7,600 engineers, construction professionals, architects, planners, technologists and scientists to design and build our critical infrastructure. With an integrated construction and design mindset, we offer full-service capabilities with more than 55 offices, globally. Founded in 1898, Burns & McDonnell is a 100% employee-owned company and proud to be on Fortune’s 2020 list of 100 Best Companies to Work For. Learn how we are on call through it all.