ENR Midwest is honored to name Ray Kowalik, CEO of Burns & McDonnell, as its 2024 Legacy Award winner.

This awards program recognizes industry veterans with many years of experience and long lists of contributions to their profession and community. In choosing this year’s recipient, ENR editors weighed several criteria, including each nominee’s history of innovation, career highlights and an engagement within the industry and the surrounding community.

Kowalik, who will retire this year, is the just the seventh CEO in the company's 125-year history. He took the post of CEO in 2017, and has overseen a time of rapid growth for the employee-owned company. It grew from 6,400 employees in 2017 to 13,500 currently, an increase of 110%.

The company’s revenue grew by nearly 200%, and it moved up to No. 7 on ENR’s list of Top 500 Design Firms. The number of office locations has grown from 30 to 70 global locations.

Kowalik joined the company in 1987 as a structural engineer after graduating from the University of Missouri-Columbia with Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in civil engineering.

Under Kowalik’s direction, the company has expanded the suite of services it offers to more than 350 different specialties.

Kowalik is credited with introducing utility companies across the country to the engineer-procure-construct (EPC) delivery method, an integrated approach that provides a single-point of contact to deliver a complex project, such as a power plant, faster and more efficiently with less risk to the owner.

During his tenure, Kowalik has focused on promoting diversity and STEM education. Burns & McDonnell works with more than 2,700 small and diverse suppliers in all 50 states and other countries. The Burns & McDonnell Foundation, founded in 1988 to strengthen communities, commits 50% of its annual funding to STEM education, investing more than $9 million in STEM initiatives and grant programs to date.

To read more about Kowalik and his achievements, check out the Jan. 19 print issue of ENR Midwest.