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Burns & McDonnell Keeps Workforce Moving Through Pandemic, Completes World Headquarters

KANSAS CITY, MO — State and local leaders joined Burns & McDonnell to dedicate the opening of the final building on its world headquarters campus to those who worked on its front lines — the critical infrastructure workers. Since breaking ground in 2018 on the $42-million project, crews worked more than 134,000 hours without any safety incidents, even through the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While most of our workforce was working while sheltering at home, we averaged nearly 70 people on this project every day,” said Ray Kowalik, Chairman and CEO of Burns & McDonnell.

From daily temperature checks to staggering schedules to improve social distancing, Kowalik said he had two main goals for the project: Keep everyone safe and keep everyone working.

“We always knew this project would create new jobs, but we could not comprehend just how vital these types of critical infrastructure projects would be to keep crews working through a pandemic,” he said.

Designed and built by Burns & McDonnell in partnership with VanTrust Real Estate, the project generated work for more than 50 companies in Missouri and Kansas.

“We’re proud of Missouri’s infrastructure workers who have continued to safely move essential projects forward even during this challenging, unprecedented time in our state,” Missouri Governor Mike Parson said. “Critical infrastructure projects like the Burns & McDonnell campus keep Missouri moving forward by meeting the increasing needs of our communities and fueling economic growth.”

Nearly 30 minority- and women-owned businesses worked on the campus expansion, surpassing goals set at the beginning of the project.

“For generations, Burns & McDonnell has invested in building up not only Kansas City’s infrastructure, but also social services for those in need throughout our region,” said Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas. “I am glad to see Burns & McDonnell’s renewed investment in Kansas City, their ongoing work with small and locally owned businesses, and their commitment to all people in this community.”

“As a minority-owned business, we look for projects that lead to multiple opportunities,” said Nilson Goes, President, Infinite Energy Construction. “We partner frequently with Burns & McDonnell on critical infrastructure projects, which helps us build our business and our community.”

Using integrated design-build delivery, it took 13 months to build the 142,000-square-foot, four-story office building and 550-stall parking garage. The new office building houses 776 office seats, increasing the size of the Burns & McDonnell world headquarters campus by 22 percent.

During the final stages of the project, the firm quickly adapted plans and implemented strategies to keep employees, partners, and customers safe and healthy within the new building. Technology teamed with large workstations, conference rooms, and outdoor patio and courtyard will promote compliance with social distancing requirements. Additionally, while the first wave of employee-owners transitioned back to the office this month, the majority will be phased back onto campus by the end of the summer.

World Headquarters Campus Highlights
  • 4,339 total office seats on campus
  • 345 total conference rooms on campus
  • 34-acre campus; 14 landscaped acres
  • More than 3,800 feet of dedicated walking trails
  • 20,000-square-foot childcare center for 144 preschool-aged children with a focus on STEM
  • Full-service pharmacy
  • On-site health center
  • On-site credit union
  • On-site fitness center
  • On-site cafeteria
  • Coffee bar with barista service
  • 2,500-square-foot rooftop event space
  • Two auditoriums with advanced audiovisual equipment


Throughout the pandemic, Burns & McDonnell continues work on nearly 10,000 other infrastructure projects in Kansas City, across the country, and throughout the world.

“Critical infrastructure is the foundation for growth and new opportunities throughout our county and across the United States,” said Jackson County, Missouri Executive Frank White, Jr. “While COVID-19 has challenged our businesses to a degree most could have never imagined, we are inspired by those who successfully completed the Burns & McDonnell campus project through a pandemic. We salute the critical infrastructure workers who will continue to build our hopes and projects of the future.”
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