Influential Leaders Take Charge
Influential Leaders Take Charge
Influential Leaders Take Charge
3 minute read

Experience and vision drive new leaders for the Energy, Construction/Design-Build and Environmental groups, and the Atlanta office, of Burns & McDonnell.

Rick Halil, Energy

After six years as vice president of the Energy Group, Rick Halil followed longtime colleague Ray Kowalik as the group’s general manager. 

Like many before him, Halil has spent his entire career in the Energy Group. Upon joining in 1989 as a mechanical engineer, his first job consisted of designing power plant retrofit projects. When the independent power market picked up, he assisted clients with power plant development, which led to the creation of the group’s Development Engineering Department.

Throughout his 27-year career, he not only has served in various roles on multidisciplinary project teams designing and constructing power generation, but also on renewable energy, nuclear, environmental and plant betterment projects. For the previous 10 years, he provided strategic leadership of the group’s engineering and project management teams, which are responsible for executing projects around the world.

“Obscure regulatory decisions and ever-changing technology create a constantly evolving marketplace,” says Greg Graves, chairman and CEO. “I know Rick is up to the challenge. He is one of the brightest and most intense people I know.”

Randy Griffin, Construction/Design-Build

The Construction/Design-Build (CDB) Group is now under the leadership of Randy Griffin, replacing retiring 22-year veteran Don Greenwood. 

As group president and general manager of CDB, as well as a member of the board of directors, Greenwood founded the group when he joined the firm in 1994. Thanks to his commitment and dedication, the CDB arm now engages more than 600 employee-owners, several of whom are assigned as field staff to large projects throughout North America.

Griffin, who was hired by Greenwood in 2001, started as director of procurement. With 30 years of construction industry experience, he was promoted to oversee construction operations, implementing practices and strategies to address issues — both in the field and in-house — across all industry sectors. He’s also one of the company’s biggest health and safety advocates. 

“I’ve watched Randy selflessly mentor and guide many employee-owners, which has resulted in remarkable leadership development for Burns & Mac,” Graves says. “Randy is notorious for saying, ‘I’ll put my team up against anyone in the industry.’ I have no doubt our CDB team will continue to thrive because of his dedication to enhancing our capabilities.”

Steve Nalefski

Steve Nalefski, Environmental

Steve Nalefski is filling the role of vice president and general manager of the Environmental Group. 

Nalefski replaces Steve Linnemann, who had been general manager of the Chicago regional office for eight years before being promoted to lead the Environmental Group. He retired at the end of 2015.

Nalefski, who has 30 years of experience in environmental management consulting, specializes in remediation of contaminated soil and groundwater. He also has assisted clients in development and implementation of global compliance programs and environmental management systems. 

A registered geologist in several states, Nalefski has led project teams on cleanup programs worldwide, most notably in the petroleum and chemical industries. Though new to Burns & McDonnell, he understands the employee ownership culture as well as the entrepreneurial spirit that thrives in each business group and regional office. According to Graves, his authenticity will stand out in his new leadership role. 

“Steve has amazing credentials for this role, with many years of success spanning the entire spectrum of services in the environmental market,” Graves says. “Though it is unusual for Burns & McDonnell to recruit from outside for senior leadership positions, he completely gets our employee ownership culture and is the perfect fit to take our Environmental Group to new levels of success.”

Oko Buckle, Atlanta

In the Atlanta regional office, Oko Buckle took over as the new general manager. He replaced Arnold Olender, who retired after 14 years developing the Atlanta office. During Olender’s tenure, the Atlanta office grew from a single to a multidisciplinary organization and expanded its services; Burns & McDonnell now offers a wide range of engineering design, construction and consulting services for aviation, aerospace, utility, energy and military, and works with many local, state and federal government clients.

Buckle, who served as regional manager of electrical transmission and distribution (T&D) engineering services for clients throughout the Southeast, picked up where the retiring Olender left off. An energetic substation engineer who joined the company in 2006, Buckle moved to Atlanta to oversee the growth of the T&D Group, which has blossomed over the last nine years under his supervision. Last May, he and Olender led the expansion of Burns & McDonnell in Florida by opening up an office in Orlando. 

“Oko’s energetic personality is infectious and part of what makes him a great leader,” Graves says. “He has great passion for life, his family … and Burns & McDonnell. Oko is a great example of the entrepreneurial nature of Burns & McDonnell. He was a substation engineer who seized the opportunity to move to Atlanta and grow the T&D practice. Now, he is one of our newest principals and the leader of the Atlanta office.”

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