ENR Mountain States is pleased to announce that the winners of this year’s regional Legacy Awards are, for Colorado: Dick Saunders, founder and former CEO of Saunders Construction in Denver; and for the Intermountain area: Robert J. Morrison, former CEO and a renowned civil engineer with Morrison-Maierle in Helena, Mont.
The Legacy Awards are given annually by ENR regional editors to individuals who have achieved a lifetime legacy of service in design and construction, and who have offered their time and expertise in giving back to the profession and to the communities in which they live. A profile story about their accomplishments will appear in the February issue of the magazine.
Congratulations to Dick and Robert!
Saunders Construction is one of Colorado’s largest general contractors, consistently ranked in the top 10 of the state’s largest firms, with more than $357 million in revenue last year. The company has constructed hundreds of projects across the region, from higher ed facilities to courthouses, high-rises, office buildings, cultural facilities, airports and complex water projects, among many others.
Dick Saunders founded the firm in 1972 and led it as CEO until 2001. He continued to serve the company as chairman until his full retirement in the spring of 2020.
He also has made significant contributions to the industry and the greater Denver community. He served as president of AGC Colorado and on the national AGC board, and his philanthropic endeavors have helped thousands of people in the community.
With a special focus on children in need, he helped found Colorado Uplift and has served on the boards for ACE Scholarships, the Foundation for Urban Youth Ministries, the Institute for Children’s Mental Disorders, and Mental Health America of Colorado—just to name a few.
At one point in time, Saunders was serving on 14 local community boards concurrently, including the Bonfils Blood Center Foundation, Kempe Children’s Foundation, Mental Health America of Colorado, University of Denver, the Colorado Ballet and the Arthritis Foundation. In 2001, he was honored with a Samaritan Institute Award, along with former First Lady Rosalynn Carter.
Robert J. Morrison
Robert Morrison will retire from engineering and surveying firm Morrison-Maierle on Dec. 31 after leading the firm as the CEO and working as a civil engineer for more than 30 years throughout the Mountain States region.
Morrison is a water engineering specialist, having managed dozens of important water projects, including many for Native American communities across the West, such as the Mni Wiconi Water Supply Project, Oglala Sioux Tribe, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, S.D.; the White Mountain Apache Tribe (WMAT), Miner Flat Rural Water System in Whiteriver, Ariz.; the Fort Peck Reservation Water Treatment Plant, Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribe in Montana; and a major Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrade in Bozeman, Mont., among many others.
After completing his bachelor’s degree in 1977 and master’s degree in 1978 in civil engineering at Montana State University, he worked for CH2M in Boise, Dallas and Denver. He returned to Montana and worked for the company his grandfather co-founded as a senior project manager and operations manager in the company’s new Great Falls office in 1991.
In 1998, he became the company’s chief engineer, and in 2006 was named the firm’s seventh president and CEO. He stepped down in January 2017 and has provided critical quality assurance and quality control initiatives and designed a project management training program to develop the next generation of leaders at Morrison-Maierle. He served for many years on the company’s board of directors.
As a Montana State University alum, he has been an external civil engineering adviser and served on the Alumni Foundation’s board of governors.
His community service includes director positions at the YMCA, Chamber of Commerce, Montana Community Finance Corporation, and the American Council of Engineering Cos. at the national and state level.
In addition to numerous project excellence awards, in 2006, Morrison was awarded the George Warren Fuller Award from the American Water Works Association’s Montana Section, the highest award an engineer can attain in the field of water and wastewater in Montana.
He also received the MSU Alumni Achievement Award in 2016 for his contributions to the College of Engineering and the university at large. In 2017, he was honored with the Helena Chamber of Commerce’s Businessperson of the Year Award for his service to the city.