Burns & McDonnell is 100-percent employee-owned, which means everyone is invested in the company's success, and shares equally in the profits when it is achieved.



This review is based on 1181 employee surveys, with a 95% confidence level and a margin of error of ± 2.45. It was published on Mar 23, 2015. 20810 Visitors

What You Should Know

Employee-owners at Burns & McDonnell are literally invested in the company’s success. The global engineering, architectural, construction and environmental firm is 100 percent employee-owned, so everyone has an equal piece of the action. Being able to see how their own bottom lines benefit from their hard work inspires them to collaborate and go the extra mile. Employee-owners in this friendly, team-oriented environment respect and appreciate their managers, calling them ethical, caring and good at their jobs. The respect runs both ways, with managers trusting their people to do what it takes to get the job done. “This company nurtures an ethos that reveres ethical thinking, promotes honorable behavior, inspires loyalty and treasures the contributions of individuals,” says one employee-owner. “It is a company that, without any cliché, I am proud and grateful to be a part of.”


Burns & McDonnell provides engineering, architecture, construction, environmental and consulting services. Burns & McDonnell has clients in the aviation, defense, environmental and utilities industry, including clients like American Airlines, Phillips 66, Duke Energy and the U.S. Navy.

Website: www.burnsmcd.com US Headquarters: Kansas City, Missouri
US Sites: 100 Major Locations: Kansas City, Mo.; Houston, Texas; Downers Grove, Ill.; St. Louis, Mo.; Denver, Colo.
US Employees: 4498 US revenues: $1788 million
Worldwide revenues: $1921 million Founded: 1898
Industry: Engineering

Great Challenges

How much responsibility would I have? What kind of support is there for professional development?

Great Rated! conducted an anonymous survey of randomly selected employee-owners to assess the quality of the workplace challenges the company provides. At Burns & McDonnell, 91 percent of employee-owners report the company often or almost always provides needed training, fair promotions and personally challenging work. Another 7 percent report the company sometimes provides these opportunities, for a combined positive rating from 98 percent of employee-owners in the Great Challenges category.

Burns & McDonnell employee-owners plan, design, permit, construct and manage facilities all over the world. The company has approximately 4,498 employee-owners in the United States, where they operate in 100 locations.

The overwhelming majority of employee-owners (96 percent) say they carry a lot of responsibility in the organization, and nearly as many (95 percent) also say that managers trust them to carry out these responsibilities without micromanaging them. For most employee-owners (89 percent), their work at Burns & McDonnell is more than just a job: The chance to impact the environment and build other companies up provides special meaning.

At Burns & McDonnell, 88 percent of employee-owners feel they receive the training and development they need to further their careers. While it is often difficult for companies to ensure that promotions are awarded fairly across organizations, at Burns & McDonnell, 89 percent say that promotions consistently go to those who best deserve them, far exceeding what one can typically expect even at the very best companies in the country.

Supporting Employee Development

  • Average annual training for part-time hourly employees: 10 hours
  • Average annual training for full-time salaried employees: 21 hours
  • Burns & McDonnell has a variety of employee development support programs including weekly lunch and learns, mentorship, leadership skill workshops, training and even courses at Burns & McDonnell University. The company also pays for conferences, professional membership dues and encourages employee-owners to attend training sessions outside the workplace.
There [is] a wide array of courses offered aimed at growing in competence in both your field of study and in anything that you are interested in.

Great Atmosphere

What would my colleagues be like? How do people have fun? How formal a workplace is it?

At Burns & McDonnell, 92 percent of employee-owners say they often or almost always enjoy their colleagues and find their workplace to be fun and cooperative. Another 6 percent sometimes benefits from these qualities, for a combined positive rating from 98 percent of employees in the Great Atmosphere category.

Burns & McDonnell has a newly expanded headquarters office located in Kansas City. On-site, employee-owners enjoy an electrical vehicle charging station, farmers' markets, cafeteria, fitness center, health center and in 2016, child care.

Fun and Celebrations

  • Sweet treats, luncheons and giveaways often reward employee-owners for a job well done. Burns & McDonnell has regular celebrations throughout the year as well, including chili-cook-offs, a lunch for the firm’s own Diversity Day, a celebration of the firm’s founders, ballgames, picnics, holiday parties and Veterans Day luncheons.
People celebrate special events around here.

Caring and Support

  • Burns & McDonnell provides the care and support employee-owners need when unexpected life events occur, offering sincere condolences, paid time off, bereavement leave, personal and medical leave and flexible work schedules. The Employee Assistance Program also offers up to six free, confidential sessions per situation with a professional on a number of personal issues including emotional upsets, stress management and problems with alcohol and drugs.
Our employee ownership provides a sense of collaboration throughout the organization that motivates each of us to seek helping others succeed. This overall benefits our clients, employee-owners and the firm. 



Great Rewards

What kind of perks and benefits are part of the employment package? What is the work-life balance like? Does the company appreciate hard work?

At Burns & McDonnell, 88 percent of employee-owners often or almost always find the company compensates them fairly, provides special and unique benefits, supports their work-life balance and shows genuine appreciation for their contributions. Another 8 percent reports they sometimes receive these benefits as well, for a combined positive rating from 96 percent of employee-owners in the Great Rewards category.

The ESOP is a wonderful perk that really allows you to see how your contribution affects the company. Other smaller benefits such as the health center, fitness center and participation in a local CSA program are also very nice.


$56,940 Average salary and additional cash compensation for drafter/detailer $133,885 Average salary and additional cash compensation for electrical engineer
50% 401(k) Company matches $.50 for every $1 the employee contributes to the plan on the first 6.5% of eligible earnings 78% Company-paid health coverage for employee-owners
78% Company-paid health coverage for dependents 32 hours Weekly hours at which part-timers receive health care coverage


  • 401(k) or 403b plan
  • Pre-tax savings account
  • Employee stock ownership plan


  • Free coffee
  • Package/mailing service
  • Discount ticket sales
  • Car wash
  • Credit Union
  • Free beverages at events
  • Massage therapy
  • Fitness classes
  • eMart stores
  • Personal travel service


23 days Holidays and vacation days after one year of employment  12 weeks Job protected maternity leave (up to six weeks of which are paid by the company)


  • Compressed workweeks (8% use it)
  • Lactation rooms
  • Flexible schedule (2% use it)
  • Phased retirement planning
I am able to take time off from work when I think it's necessary.
People are encouraged to balance their work life and their personal life.
The company is very flexible with the work hours allowing you to take off whenever necessary for personal issues as long as the work is performed. 


  • Dental care
  • Prescription drug subsidy
  • Alternative treatments, such as acupuncture, homeopathy or chiropractic
  • Vision care
  • Mental health care
  • Fertility treatments


  • Breast cancer screening
  • Skin cancer screening
  • Blood pressure screening
  • Fitness center
  • Health coaching
  • Prostate cancer screening
  • Cholesterol tests
  • Flu shots
  • Health center

Great Pride

What inspires employees' company spirit here? Do people stand by their teams' work? What impact do people have outside the organization?

At Burns & McDonnell, 94 percent of employee-owners report that they often or almost always carry meaningful responsibilities within the organization and are proud of their accomplishments, community impact and the company's reputation in the world. Another 5 percent report they sometimes experience this pride as well, for a combined positive rating from 99 percent of employee-owners in the Great Pride category.

Burns & McDonnell is uniquely 100 percent employee-owned, with a mission of making their clients successful. 

I'm proud to tell others I work here.
At Burns & McDonnell, we believe in the power of an entrepreneurial dream. It’s how we got our start in 1898. Experienced professionals who join our team find the freedom to shape their careers. They come here, and stay here, because of the opportunities to work on relevant and interesting projects, to be part of a culture where good people work and to collaborate with colleagues focused on common goals. We understand that a career path isn’t always a straight line and that goals and dreams evolve. Here, you’ll find ways to make an impact in an environment where corporate success breeds individual success. We work with people who are supportive, passionate and fun.

Supporting the Community

  • Philanthropic donations in the last year: $2,500,000
  • Each year, Burns & McDonnell selects a national charity on which to concentrate companywide community service efforts. In 2014, Burns & McDonnell selected Ronald McDonald House Charities as its Charity of Choice and raised more than $170,000. Employee-owners also cooked meals, completed repairs and organized activities at their local Ronald McDonald House chapters.
I feel good about the ways we contribute to the community.
I like the way that we give back to the community, whether it be through donations or physically going out to help people in need.

Great Communication

How easy is it to talk with managers and get the information I need? Will managers listen to my input?

At Burns & McDonnell, 89 percent of employee-owners say they often or almost always experience a free and transparent exchange of ideas and information within the organization. Another 8 percent sometimes has this experience as well, for a combined positive rating from 97 percent of employee-owners in the Great Communication category.

Although Burns & McDonnell is spread out in 100 locations nationwide, the lines of communication are open, and employee-owners get the information they need to do their jobs. An incredible 93 percent of employee-owners say that managers are both approachable and easy to talk with. The majority of employee-owners (91 percent) also say that expectations are clear and they get straight answers to any reasonable questions they ask their managers. More than nine out of 10 employee-owners agree that managers keep them informed about important issues and changes. 

We are all owners of the company, so we strive to do our best. I feel like I could walk into my division president's office and talk to him about something and wouldn't be turned away. For that matter I think I could walk into a member of the board and (as long as they didn't have someone in their office) they would talk to me.

Great Bosses

What are managers' leadership strengths?

At Burns & McDonnell, 89 percent of employee-owners say their managers often or almost always act with integrity and care, are competent in their positions and provide clear directions and vision for the organization. Another 8 percent say their managers sometimes display these characteristics, for a combined positive rating from 97 percent of employee-owners in the Great Bosses category.

Burns & McDonnell employee-owners widely appreciate the pride and friendly atmosphere their leaders encourage at the company. Employee-owners here give their managers very high marks, painting a picture of a leadership team that's honest, caring and good at what they do. Astoundingly, nearly all employee-owners (97 percent) believe managers are honest and ethical in their business practices, and are competent at running the business. An incredible 94 percent of employee-owners agree that managers have a clear view of where the organization is going and how to get there. The same number of employee-owners also say managers would lay people off only as a last resort. On that note, nine out of 10 employee-owners agree that managers deliver on their promises, with their actions matching their words.

The management seems to always be looking at the talent within the company to promote or provide an opportunity to work at a higher pay grade and eventually be promoted to that pay grade. We have several meetings a year to discuss current projects, future projects, safety, financials and welcoming new hires. I always find it interesting to hear about other projects and accomplishments. 

Great Perks and Programs

  • Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP): Employee-owners can see the direct impact they have on the company as they are also owners themselves. Employee-owners automatically become stockholders at Burns & McDonnell at no cost. 
  • New Employee Welcome Luncheon: Every other month new hires get together in a relaxed, informal gathering to learn about the firm's history, gain insight into the company culture and meet the board of directors.
  • Tuition Assistance Program: This encourages employee-owners to develop their careers through job-related courses, by providing reimbursement for tuition, registration, technology and activity fees. 
  • Professional Women's Exchange: A group of dynamic women, including speakers who are established in a variety of professional areas, get together on a monthly basis to network, discuss and create learning opportunities. 
  • Farm-to-table Harvest Box Delivery Program: This is a community-supported agriculture program delivering fresh local foods right to the office for the convenience of busy employee-owners. 

Employee Quotes

Great Rated! collected feedback from Burns & McDonnell employee-owners via an anonymous survey. Following are common reasons employee-owners said they appreciate their workplace.

"There is employee accountability of work, an overall positive atmosphere and the equipment and facilities are kept up to date. There is also the freedom to control my own schedule."

"Employee ownership, and not just by a few employees. Everyone has a piece of the action and it is divided up fairly among all employees."

"This company nurtures an ethos that reveres ethical thinking, promotes honorable behavior, inspires loyalty, treasures the contributions of individuals and protects the well-being and safety of employees, customers and contractors alike. It is a company that, without any cliché, I am proud and grateful to be a part of."

"This is an employee-owned organization that inspires collaboration and a very collegiate working environment."

"By operating a cafeteria with healthy food options, a fitness center where I can take yoga and Pilates classes, and a health center where I can get my annual physical and lab work done, proves Burns & McDonnell cares about and invests in their employee's health and well-being."

"People are treated like family. We genuinely care about each other and most importantly, we respect our associates at all levels of the organization."

"Being an employee-owned company does make you want to do your very best to help the company succeed."

"People here work together to make our clients successful and we also learn from each other."

"What separates Burns & McDonnell from its peers is the employee ownership. We have an ESOP in place which permeates the entire culture of the company. As employee-owners, you are compensated very well for the work done and that creates a culture in which everyone is very invested in the projects we work on. The company makes it a priority to take care of its employee-owners' health and well-being, providing quality health care benefits."

"We celebrate a lot here. Every time there's something to celebrate, it seems like we don't miss an opportunity to do so."

"Compared to my previous place of employment, my company makes a great effort to ensure the company's profits get passed on to the people that deserve it."

"The people in general are just fantastic. Many are friends outside of work as well, which means we're always pulling for each other and willing to go the extra mile for each other. The ESOP is a huge driver for us as we know we have a direct impact on the company as well as our individual successes."

How to Get Hired

We asked Burns & McDonnell for some inside information on how to get hired at the organization. Here is what they had to say.

What key characteristics tell you a prospective employee will be a great fit for your company?

“We look for individuals who take the initiative to solve problems and have the mentality that no job is too small or underneath them. Prospective employees who are technically excellent, high-performing team players with an ownership attitude stand out among others.” -Renee Gartelos, Human Resources director

What can prospective employees do to get your attention?

“Before sitting down with a recruiter, do some initial research. At a minimum, study the company and the industries served. We’d never expect you to know it all, but you should have a basic understanding of who we are. In addition, I like when a potential employee has reached out to current Burns & McDonnell employees to get a feel for our organization’s culture. Those individuals are more prepared for long-term success here.” -Jen Parker, recruitment manager

Are there any unusual or especially rigorous steps of your hiring process that candidates should be aware of?

“Our hiring process is pretty standard. We start with a phone screening interview and follow up with a face-to-face interview if we feel you might be a good fit. Just come prepared with questions, basic knowledge about our firm and be yourself.” -Tonya Adams, construction/design-build Human Resources manager

Are there any positions or types of candidates you are particularly focused on hiring in this coming year?

 “This year we are focusing on recruiting new graduate engineers, construction professionals and detailers/designers.” -Lauren Bertram, recruitment manager

What should interested candidates do to find out more and get started?

“Look us up online at www.burnsmcd.com/careers. Our website has a ton of great information for interns, new graduates and experienced individuals about our firm and culture. Our social media sites are also great starting places for learning more about working at Burns & Mac.” -Amber Carucci, marketing communications specialist

Hiring Outlook

18%Job Growth 70Average number of applicants per opening
5%Total voluntary turnover in past year 66570Applicants in past year
575Openings in past year 31%New hires by employee referrals

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