Dan Korinek proves that teamwork is a key factor is building a successful career.
Dan Korinek learned teamwork early, growing up in a competitive family. He puts it to work throughout his life, whether he's coaching youth football or leading a department of professional engineers. He also believes it is one of the most important traits of Burns & McDonnell employee-owners.
"More can be accomplished through a collaborative team effort than can ever be possible alone," Korinek says. "That is the Burns & McDonnell culture."
Korinek, manager of the Water Group in Denver and director of the firm's Water Supply and Conveyance Practice, has worked his entire 26-year career at the firm. During that time, he has built a reputation for embodying the employee-owner spirit and the company's mission of making clients successful.
"Dan is one of the best examples of what employee ownership means," says Mark Lichtwardt, vice president and general manager of the Denver office. "He's an excellent leader, really focuses on client satisfaction, and he's very good technically."
In This Together
A Colorado native and civil engineering graduate of Colorado State University, Korinek might have liked to start his career in the Centennial State. But as a team player, he did what most new graduates at Burns & McDonnell did then: He moved to Kansas City to learn the ropes at the company's headquarters.
Korinek and college friend Paul Fischer, now president of the Burns & McDonnell Regional Office Group, both started working at the firm in 1988. Fischer recalls one of the first projects the two worked on together, digging borings along a pipeline route in North Kansas City.
"We hiked in and out of that muddy forest for two weeks, and I thought Dan might be wondering what I got him into. But he stuck with it, and he has bled blue ever since," Fischer says. "You won't find a harder worker, serving both our clients and his people. His character, integrity and values shine brightly in everything he does."
Building Something Big
After a few years of getting their feet wet in Kansas City, Korinek and Fischer returned to Colorado to build the Denver office. Over time, Korinek built on his experience in water distribution and collection, becoming one of the firm's top pipeline specialists.
One of Korinek's largest projects to date: the Gillette-Madison pipeline, which will deliver reliable and sustainable water to customers in Gillette, Wyo., and the surrounding region. Korinek's team is providing planning, design, construction administration, full-time on-site representation, and program management for the $220 million project.
As the largest municipal project ever in Wyoming, it includes 52 miles of large-diameter pipeline, a 30 million-gallon-per-day pump station, a water storage tank, a treatment facility with on-site generation of sodium hypochlorite, and five 3,000-foot-deep wells. The six-phase project began in 2009 and is slated for completion in late 2016.
Managing a project of such scale takes experience and attention to detail.
"It comes down to having a great team and making sure we're all on the same page," he says. "We've been able to manage it through good communication with our clients, being good stewards of their money and making ourselves available to them."
Korinek's emphasis on service has led to many long-standing client relationships.
Gary Behlen, director of public works for the Town of Erie, Colo., has worked with Korinek for more than 15 years, and he appreciates Korinek's responsiveness, especially on difficult projects. He recalls working on a raw water pump station and pipeline project in the area.
"There were a lot of groundwater issues, and Dan was really good about meeting with the neighbors and addressing their issues," Behlen says, recalling a meeting when Korinek came into his office and started laying out a sewer line with colored pencils. "He has an old-school kind of way. He actually gets into it with a pen and paper and lays out concepts. He's a hard worker and is detail-oriented."
Dan Strietelmeier, a senior engineer with the City of Westminster, Colo., has worked with Korinek on five projects in as many years. He says Korinek's management style and people skills are keys to his success: "He manages his people well and is very good at coordinating all of their efforts."
During preliminary design for the Southern Pressure Zone 1 Water Transmission Line project, Korinek made sure staff came to a consensus on the project alignment. "He steps up when difficult decisions have to be made," Strietelmeier says.
Although he's been working in the water industry for more than a quarter century, Korinek's success has led him to other responsibilities. "Over the last four or five years, Dan has taken on a leadership role in Denver, not just in Water, but in the office overall," Lichtwardt says.
To Korinek, it's just part of being on the team.
Contact Dan at 303-474-2224.