For more than 50 years, the Environmental Group at Burns & McDonnell has worked to preserve our global environment, mitigating risks, remediating sites and offsetting project impacts. It’s this type of work that Laura has always found interesting and rewarding. For 12 years, she has helped create customized, innovative, technical and sustainable solutions for projects relating to materials management, water quality, remediation and renewable energy for state and local government, industrial, oil and gas, and utility clients.
Additionally, she has developed multiple corporate sustainability reports for transportation clients and several zero-waste plans for state and local governments, work that included significant public involvement and outreach. Intense focus on these topics, and in all industries, makes her job more exciting than ever.
I bought my first house on the show “House Hunters” in 2011, just as I started my career here at Burns & McDonnell.
There’s a quote on some of the walls here at world headquarters from one of our co-founders, Robert E. McDonnell: “What can be more romantic and thrilling than to be engaged in a profession that saves human lives and adds to the health, happiness and prosperity of your own community?” I came across this quote about seven years ago and started including it in many of my client interviews and conference presentations. In the environmental practice, everything we do is to improve the quality of human and ecological health and, in turn, financial welfare of communities. Not only does my job challenge me every day but it also provides a sense of personal purpose and pride that keeps me motivated even on the toughest days.
In 2022, the World Economic Forum reported that the top three risks to our global economy over the next 10 years are environmental and that more than half of the world’s GDP is moderately or highly dependent on nature and its resources. Particularly in the last few years, through the formalization of ESG (environmental, social and governance), we’ve seen how closely the environment is tied into everything we do on a personal, organizational and societal level. With new investments and regulatory drivers, this matters to every one of our clients. I’m excited to work with teams across the company to adapt our service offerings and adapt how we perform projects to help clients meet their ESG and sustainability goals — not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s the future of infrastructure. There are many opportunities to decarbonize, minimize waste, reduce freshwater usage, encourage biodiversity and protect natural resources in every project. This is our time to reveal the innovation of our profession to meet the seemingly insurmountable task of climate change that we are facing.
Though holiday baking is one of my favorite traditions, I pretty much stick to quick-and-easy dinner meals, with a few signature side dishes to take to parties. So, if I could pick up a new skill, it would be in the culinary arts. I have never been able to just “whip up” a healthy and nutritious meal without a recipe, and even with one, they aren’t always successful.