While other design firms have scaled back in recent years, the multifaceted Burns & McDonnell recently embarked on an initiative to add 1,000 employees to its ranks, including 500 in Kansas City, where it is headquartered.

The increases, which will push staff totals past 4,000, are due to increasing demand for firm specialties, including electrical transmission and distribution, air quality control systems for power generation facilities, combined heat and power facilities, nuclear plant upgrades, food processing, water infrastructure and petrochemical processing plant upgrades.

In recent years, key acquisitions have consolidated its presence in other sectors, including transportation. Its single largest commission last year was the I-64 Daniel Boone Bridge, a replacement structure spanning the Missouri River between St. Louis and St. Charles Counties in Missouri.

Burns & McDonnell is a true innovator, having recently undertaken the design of small modular nuclear reactors. In 2012, the firm introduced PublicWay, a web-based tool initially designed to assist the Kansas City Water Services Department in coordinating a $4.5 billion, 25-year effort to reduce and eliminate overflows into the metropolitan sewer system.

Last year, Burns and McDonnell also ranked on Information Week's annual listing of the most innovative users of business technology. The firm was cited for its use of 4D construction modeling on large and complex projects.

In further recognition of its innovations, Burns & McDonnell received ACEC Missouri's 2012 Grand Conceptor award for its work on Kansas City Power and Light's Iatan Generation Station Unit 2, recognized as one of the cleanest and most efficient supercritical coal-fired power facilities in North America.

The firm also is at the forefront of social media, as reported in ENR in October 2011 .

This year, Burns & McDonnell ranked 18th Fortune's annual “100 Best Companies to Work For” on the basis of its commitments to employee wellness, community outreach, professional development and diversity.

Burns & McDonnell will be profiled in the June 3 edition of ENR Midwest, which also will feature the magazine's annual ranking of the region's Top Design Firms.