The Leading Spark
The Leading Spark
The Leading Spark
2 minute read

Integrity, leadership and an unwavering work ethic catapulted engineer Scott Newland into the role of program manager for a $1.5 billion transmission reliability program.

Early in his career, Scott Newland demonstrated poise and technical savvy, even when he was the youngest in the room by a decade. He quickly gained responsibility, managing underground transmission projects just four years after graduating from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

After witnessing Newland’s results- and deadline-driven project management of underground transmission for Northeast Utilities’ award-winning Middletown|Norwalk project, Burns & McDonnell leadership felt Newland was ready to step up to the position of program manager for Northeast Utilities’ $1.5 billion New England East-West Solution (NEEWS). Burns & McDonnell is responsible for three of the four NEEWS transmission reliability projects.

“The caliber of people needed to run a big program like this is hard to find,” says Mike Beehler, Burns & McDonnell associate vice president in the Transmission & Distribution Group. “Scott is a man of integrity and high character. That coupled with his unwavering work ethic and technical experience made him an excellent choice for this position.”

For his new role, Newland transferred to the New England office of Burns & McDonnell in February 2007. There his vigilant, trail-blazing leadership helped establish a strong team in the growing New England office.

“When you’re in front of the pack there’s nowhere to hide,” says Brett Williams, Burns & McDonnell associate vice president and manager of the New England office. “Scott was the first person to jump in with both feet, issuing contracts proactively. He’s a guy who makes it happen.”

So it was no surprise that leadership in the Burns & McDonnell Transmission & Distribution Group nominated Newland for the honor of principal, which he received in July 2009 as a recognition of his outstanding performance — including a perfect safety record — leadership, ethics and technical knowledge.

“Scott definitely has an innate quality that suggests he will be a leader for a long time at Burns & McDonnell,” says Gary Pence, Burns & McDonnell vice president in the Transmission & Distribution Group. “He has those natural leadership qualities that you can’t develop — you either have them or you don’t. He definitely has them. Someone like him rises to the occasion and accelerates his career.”

Impressing the Client

When client Kathy Shea, Northeast Utilities project director for NEEWS, met Newland, she noticed his calm, confident composure.

“Nothing gets to Scott, and that doesn’t always come easily to a lot of people,” says Shea. “He is solid in stressful scenarios. He’s even-tempered and measured in his approach. As far as I’m concerned, I would put him in front of public officials anytime.”

With high-profile projects like NEEWS, community relations are an important
aspect of a successful project delivery.

“Scott is effective in public meetings, even when residents in opposition are very vocal,” Shea says. “He is good at offering potential solutions.”

Shea is confident that if Newland continues to carry out a forward-looking, integrated strategy through all stages of NEEWS, then the program will be a success.

Generating a Leader

Newland has developed a good rapport with clients like Northeast Utilities because he identifies and mitigates risks early in the project and manages expectations on a daily basis through the development of a thoroughly detailed schedule. His effective communication with the client along with continuously delivering results also contributes to positive client relationships.

“One of Scott’s best leadership qualities is that he’s extraordinarily honest,” Williams says. “He gives clear direction with the ability to deliver both the good and the bad news.”

Pence agrees Newland’s integrity is one of his best qualities, noting that Newland learns from his mistakes and surrounds himself with those who are stronger in areas where he lacks experience.

“Scott is honest and firm, which builds trust with the client and our staff internally,” Pence says. “He’s not afraid to admit when he makes a mistake. He’s also not afraid to ask for advice; he doesn’t feel like he has to know everything.”

Thus far, Newland has learned his management skills on the job through other great leaders at Burns & McDonnell. Beginning this fall, Newland started formally fine tuning these skills in a two-year executive MBA program at the University of Connecticut.

“My leadership style has developed by emulating the characteristics that distinguish the best leaders at Burns & McDonnell,” Newland says. “I have learned that one key to success is surrounding myself with a talented team.”

Contact Scott Newland at 203-284-8590.

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