Burns & McDonnell Reviews | Glassdoor

Burns & McDonnell Reviews

Updated April 17, 2018
372 reviews

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3.8
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Ray Kowalik
56 Ratings

372 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • highly profitable company with a long track record of success, employee ownership so everyone truly shares in the profits (in 33 reviews)

  • ESOP is great and so is the work environment (in 13 reviews)

Cons
  • Work/life balance can be challenging at times (in 35 reviews)

  • Regularly expected to work long hours (in 27 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (2)

    "Senior Electrical Engineer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at Burns & McDonnell full-time

    Pros

    Great culture, good employee ownership both in profit sharing and long term decision making

    Cons

    Not enough paid time off / vacation

    Advice to Management

    Increase PTO for entry levels


  2. "Good company - poor management."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Project Assistant in Houston, TX
    Former Employee - Project Assistant in Houston, TX
    Doesn't Recommend

    I worked at Burns & McDonnell full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Good people in other departments.

    Cons

    People are so focus on themselves they don't care about new employees or contingent workers. Sad.

    Advice to Management

    Company would grow more if you gave proper training to new employees.

  3. "Overall Pretty good Experience"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Burns & McDonnell full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Cool projects to work on

    Cons

    Live to work mentality IMO


  4. Helpful (1)

    "Piping Designer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Piping Designer in Kansas City, MO
    Current Employee - Piping Designer in Kansas City, MO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Burns & McDonnell full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great place to work. Leads and co-workers make being at work enjoyable.

    Cons

    Company believes in great health, but excludes contingent workers. Gym access being a small example.


  5. Helpful (26)

    "Do Your Research Before Accepting a Position Here"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Mechanical Designer in Kansas City, MO
    Former Employee - Mechanical Designer in Kansas City, MO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Burns & McDonnell full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    ESOP (provided it continues to go up)
    If your division is slow they may attempt to keep you busy in another division.

    Cons

    The first thing you should know about BMcD, is that your work life balance is going to be almost non-existent. 60+ hours a week is not only common here, it's expected in a lot of groups. BMcD has a lot of money, and it's not because they are a well oiled machine, it's because they under staff projects and over work their employees to the point of burning them out. Just for perspective, I was in a group of ~25 people and 5 of those people quit or transferred in less than a year due to being overworked or having issues with management. When I left, there were at least 3 other people who were looking very heavily at other opportunities. During review time, how much over time you have worked will be taken into consideration for your rankings. If you haven't worked 300 or more, you're just doing what's required. If you worked under 200 hours for the year, odds are your review scores are going to be compromised.

    The second thing you should know, is that the bonus is a carrot on a stick. Base salaries are extremely low, but BMcD claims to make up for it with the year end bonus. The general consensus among employees is that the bonus is "deferred salary" (a common term used here) and on a good year it will put you up around your industry value. Bad years your bonus goes down and you are told to hope for better next year. You don't have to work here long to realize that the bonus structure is put in place for one reason; the company doesn't have to pay you what you're worth if financials don't work out in their favor. For perspective, I worked at BMcD for almost 5 years, always got stellar reviews and was still able to easily go out and find a job with way better benefits and a higher salary. Middle management will most certainly try to keep you jazzed about the bonus, and pump you up from October to December that your bonus will be "the big one this year". Which leads me to my next point...

    Middle management is incredibly difficult to deal with at BMcD. People are almost always promoted to middle management for 2 reasons: 1) they are 100% committed to the company culture, and 2) they have been there longer than most others in their group and they generally had never worked anywhere else (BMcD loves to recruit right out of college so they can get the company culture instilled early). This makes life extremely difficult for the average production worker, as their manager generally has no people management skills. The group I was in had a lot of under the breath complaints that employees would get low scores or knocked down for things that our manager never bothered to discuss with them at any point throughout the year. I also witnessed some very unethical things done by middle management, such as demoting retirement aged employees without telling them. A high level employee in my group was demoted and he had to find out by being humiliated when someone asked him why his title changed in the system. Management didn't bother to tell him he was being demoted, they just changed his title in the system and let him find out that way. This is just one example, but things like this happen all of the time.

    The last thing I think is worth mentioning, is that if you accept a position with BMcD be prepared to deal with what management calls "donated time". If you travel, it is supposed to be on your time and you don't charge. If you want to get ahead then you're asked to work on things that benefit your group, such as standards and procedures. This is on your time and don't even think about asking for a charge code. Middle management will constantly pressure you to do things like donate time and work extra, without coming right out and asking directly. They know things like asking employees to donate time is a big legal no-no, so instead they pull you aside and tell you to "put on your employee owner hat" and boast that other group members got higher reviews because of the OT they worked and how much time they donated.

    BMcD cares about one thing, and that's making money. They ride on the coat tails of their reputation from the 90s and early 2000s. The company has grown extremely fast in the past 5 years and in the midst of that growth, the quality of life for the employees has gone downhill fast.

    Advice to Management

    Pay people what they're worth, staff your projects properly, and get the reigns on your middle management. BMcD is losing a lot of great workers due to the burn out factor.


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Fantastic Work Place"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Assistant Electrical Engineer in Alpharetta, GA
    Current Employee - Assistant Electrical Engineer in Alpharetta, GA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Burns & McDonnell full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    -The company truly cares about its workers and their well being
    -Large variety in projects
    - Stable Environment and work load

    Cons

    -Company can expect you to cut into your personal time to take on more projects


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Electrical Engineer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Electrical Engineer in Kansas City, MO
    Current Employee - Electrical Engineer in Kansas City, MO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Burns & McDonnell full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    doesnt take long for ESOP to outgrow 401K

    Cons

    workload is always heavy, travel is extensive and required

  8. Helpful (11)

    "Great for many"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Los Angeles, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Los Angeles, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Burns & McDonnell full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Burns & McDonnell (BMcD) is a profitable company and it’s not unheard of for people to spend 20-30 years there.

    In an era of professional service firm consolidation, BMcD remains private and independent. I don’t think it ever had to buy business while I was there. As a private company, it doesn’t report to Wall Street. It remains accountable to its employee owners.

    BMcD embraces professional growth. Continued education through tuition assistance and attendance at conferences is encouraged.

    BMcD is a top engineering firm and you will work on amazing projects. These projects have significance because they deliver power, water, and other basic services to the citizens of this world while protecting the environment.

    BMcD hires the best and brightest. It’s a great opportunity to not only learn from the work you do, but from the people as well. I really enjoyed the majority of people there and still have several friends who bleed blue.

    The overall truth is, I am very grateful for my time with Burns & McDonnell. It had a positive impact on the life I have today and I am a better person for it.

    Cons

    I was unhappy towards the end of my tenure with BMcD. I had three direct managers during my 5 years there. The first one was average, the second was great, but the third one was the reason I left. If that last manager and I had a better relationship, I might still be with the firm.

    I see a lot of negative reviews about billable hours. Truth told, I previously wrote a now deleted and scathing review about that. Something to the effect of “be 100% billable but also win new projects because the business development folks don’t develop business at all.” Reflecting on that now, I regret that review and the comment. Here’s why:

    Any for profit consulting company wants its employees billable. That benefits the organization and you, the employee owner. Who are the best resources to bring in new business? Those actively engaged with clients and who can deliver further value for the organization. The very best employees at any company find ways to develop business with an existing or new client. If you really want to succeed and you are working on a client project, you should seek to identify ways in which BMcD can solve additional challenges. This will result in more BMcD services for your client, more hours for you and your team, and should make you a rising star. If you do all these things and are not rewarded - you need to leave.

    Advice to Management

    New employees at regional offices need a better understanding of MacCulture. They must know that while a lot will be asked of them, a lot will be returned. The EOY bonuses are great but they are subjective.

    Business development leaders should seek input about client needs from projects teams. Project teams can generate leads, but it’s important for the business development manager to qualify and manage those opportunities. When BMcD wins, give a bonus to those people on the project team that contributed.

    Consider changing your business development model: Business development leaders should not be managing people outside of business development and should not be responsible for billing hours. Business development leaders should be developing relationships, aligning strategies, and winning new business.


  9. Helpful (2)

    "Great Place to Work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Burns & McDonnell full-time

    Pros

    Everyone at Burns & Mac is motivated and personable . In the office you can tell that people are willing and able to help one another . At any position you’re involved in great projects and exposed to great experience.

    Cons

    Those scared of putting in hard work need not apply . Burns & Mac hires the best , but only because the best can deliver. Doing what it takes can mean longer hours, but only when necessary .

    Advice to Management

    Keep doing what you’re doing .


  10. Helpful (8)

    "Good Company if you work for the right mangager."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Electrical Designer in Fort Worth, TX
    Former Employee - Electrical Designer in Fort Worth, TX
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Burns & McDonnell full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    If you stay with the company long enough, you can really pad your retirement account with the ESOP. You just have to survive the vesting schedule. Large bonus makes up for below average base pay.

    Cons

    I think some people are promoted into management based purely on how much money they bring into the company with zero thought about people skills. ESOP culture can be a little weird and cult-like. Some employee-owners "bleed blue", blue is the company color. They live and breath Burns & McDonnell on and off the clock and are rarely off the clock. If your manager is that way, well, I'm sorry. Large bonuses are nice, but on a bad year, or if your manager decides your blood isn't blue enough, it can really hurt due to the low base pay. Your ESOP account can also act as golden handcuffs if your not fully vested, which I think has a lot to do with the low turn over rate. You'll leave most of it behind if you jump ship. Expect long hours and poor work-life balance. This is okay for single, career minded people, but stinks if you're family oriented or have a life outside of work.

    Advice to Management

    Stop promoting people into management based purely on how much money they bring in and the ridiculous amount of hours they work. My manager's complete lack of people management skills, or rather his method of ruling with intimidation, drove off five EOs in my time there, including engineers and designers. Others were talking about leaving when I left. It was dismaying and demoralizing to watch EO's in other departments happily going about their day while we avoided and dreaded any interaction with our "leader".


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