He's traveled the world and returned to his roots in Minnesota. The rapid growth and success of the Burns & McDonnell Minneapolis-St. Paul office sits comfortably on Gene Sieve's shoulders.
For a small-town Minnesota farm boy, Gene Sieve has built a pretty impressive travel log over the past 20 years.
His career as a Burns & McDonnell mechanical engineer, working on aviation and facilities projects, took Sieve to places as distant as Hawaii, Egypt and Jordan. The work covered everything from commercial aviation to foreign military projects. But no matter how far away his job took him or how rich his on-the-job experiences were, his heart remained at home in Minnesota.
His desire to get back home, coupled with years of hard work and perseverance, has helped Sieve become a principal and manager of the Burns & McDonnell Minneapolis-St. Paul office, which opened in 2007.
Despite his past travels, finding himself back in the Land of 10,000 Lakes doesn’t leave Sieve with a feeling of missing out on something bigger. He’s exactly where he wants to be.
A fresh graduate of South Dakota State University, Sieve started his career in January 1991 at the Burns & McDonnell world headquarters in Kansas City, Mo. He fostered his mentor relationships and quickly became a well-respected protégé, gaining experience on confidential military projects domestically and overseas.
“Everything I learned about project management, I learned at Burns & McDonnell,” Sieve says. “Having started my career and been given such great opportunities to learn and make such good friends here, I never wanted to leave.” But a trip home to celebrate Christmas with family in 1997 led Sieve to realize he wanted to get back to his roots.
A regional office in Minnesota was not in the cards for Burns & McDonnell at that time, so Sieve took an opportunity with another firm closer to home. “During that time away, I maintained close ties with my friends from Burns & Mac,” Sieve says. “I was also struggling to find a work culture as committed as Burns & McDonnell, and always hoped I could find a way back.”
Nearly 10 years later, Sieve took a shot and put together a business plan for opening a Burns & McDonnell office in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. “Since I had left, the firm had become more focused on growing regionally, so I thought it was a good time to put in my pitch.” His presentation was a success, and Sieve had the go-ahead to open the Minneapolis-St. Paul office.
Sieve was the obvious choice to open the office, says Randy Pope, associate vice president in the Burns & McDonnell Aviation & Facilities Group.
“Gene proved himself to be a solid engineer who was very conscientious of his clients’ needs,” Pope says. “Having him in Minnesota is a benefit because people from here know him and trust him and are interested in seeing him succeed.”
With Sieve’s background in aviation and facilities, many of the office’s largest projects are for clients in that industry, including design of a two-bay hangar at Minot Air Force Base and a Minnesota Army National Guard Readiness Center. The office is recognized for its expertise in building commissioning and fire protection engineering.
To date, the office has 35 employees working in the Aviation & Facilities, Business & Technology Services and Environmental divisions, with plans to expand into the electrical transmission and distribution industry this year.
Continuing to Impress
Sieve leaves a lasting reputation with clients, who appreciate his continued involvement in their projects.
Mike Pisci, a project manager with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District, says that despite Sieve’s leadership role, he still takes the time to stay involved in projects coming out of his office.
“My experience working with Gene has been very positive. He is very customer-oriented,” Pisci says. “As a senior point of contact, he is still very involved in our projects. He stopped by even after work was completed on our Ellsworth Air Force Base project. I look forward to working with him and his crew again on Minot Air Force Base.”
Sieve’s “over and above” involvement goes beyond being there for clients. He is also giving back to his local engineering community through his commitment to the Minnesota Chapter of the American Council of Engineering Companies. He is currently president-elect and in 2012 will become president of the 1,600-member strong chapter. He has also served on the organization’s board of directors for five years and as an officer for three years.
The rapid growth and success of the Minneapolis-St. Paul office sits comfortably on Sieve’s shoulders. Whether it’s returning to Minnesota or to Burns & McDonnell, he’s proof that you can come home again.
Contact Gene at 952-656-3636.