Greg Graves, chairman and chief executive officer of Kansas City, Mo., based Burns & McDonnell, will present the keynote address at Park University’s Kansas City Area December 2015 Commencement
on Saturday, Dec. 12. The ceremony will be held at the Community of Christ Auditorium, 1001 W. Walnut in Independence, Mo., starting at 11 a.m.
The event will include 350 Park University students eligible to graduate — 135 students will receive a master’s degree or graduate certificate, and 215 students will receive a bachelor’s degree, associate degree or undergraduate certificate.
Graves leads one of the fastest-growing and most successful engineering, architecture, construction and environmental consulting firms in North America. When Graves was appointed CEO in January 2004, approximately 1,500 employee-owners worked at Burns & McDonnell and annual revenue was $420 million. Today, the employee count has grown to more than 5,300, and sales last year exceeded $2.5 billion.
Graves joined Burns & McDonnell in 1980. After holding several positions of increasing responsibility with the firm, he was promoted to general manager of the company’s energy division in 1997. In 2001, he was promoted to president of the division, a position he held until he has named the firm’s sixth CEO three years later.
Under Graves’ leadership, Burns & McDonnell has earned a reputation as a national leader in many technical specialties within the energy, public infrastructure, government, aviation, process and health care sectors. This year, the company ranks as the 17th largest engineering, architecture and construction firm as measured by Engineering News-Record
More important to Graves, the firm is nationally recognized as one of America’s best places to work. In 2015, Fortune magazine ranked Burns & McDonnell the 15th best place to work in its annual ranking of the “100 Best Companies to Work For.” It was the fourth consecutive year and fifth time overall that the organization was selected. Fortune
also teamed up with Great Place to Work and recognized Burns & McDonnell as the 14th “Best Workplace for Millennials in the U.S.” in its inaugural “100 Best Workplaces for Millennials List.” In addition, the Kansas City Business Journal
has named Burns & McDonnell the No. 1 “Best Place to Work” among large workplaces in Kansas City for four consecutive years, and has earned a spot on its top 10 list for a decade.
Graves and his wife, Deanna, view public service as a duty in return for all Kansas City has given them. He serves on numerous boards in the Kansas City area, and current serves as chair of the University of Kansas Hospital Authority Board and The Kansas City Repertory Theatre. In November, Graves was named “Kansas Citian of the Year” by the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, an award given to individuals whose civic contributions and achievements reflect the insight, creativity and consciousness necessary to build and maintain a quality urban community. He has also been named the CEO of the Year by the Mid-America Minority Business Development Council and the Difference Maker of the Year by the Urban League of Greater Kansas City. In addition, the couple has chaired fundraisers throughout the Kansas City region, and in 2009, they were named Kansas City’s Philanthropists of the Year.
Graves has a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, and a Master of Business Administration degree from Rockhurst University.