Houston Office Leadership

Leslie M. Duke, PE, is a senior vice president and leads the Houston office of Burns & McDonnell. She began her career in Houston and had a successful decade as the regional Transmission & Distribution practice manager in Houston. In her role as regional manager for the Transmission & Distribution Group, she grew clientele from an initial one, CenterPoint Energy, to more than 40 industrial, investor-owned utilities and electric cooperatives. In 2010 she opened the Dallas, Fort Worth and Raleigh offices, then returned to Houston in 2012. With her Texas spirit and go get 'em attitude, Duke helped the Burns & McDonnell Houston office advance into the powerhouse it is today. As a registered professional engineer in Texas, Duke earned a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from Texas Tech University, serves on the board of directors for the Texas Association of Business and Junior Achievement of Southeast Texas, and is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the National Society of Professional Engineers.

Read her profile in the Dallas Business Journal > 
Read her profile in BenchMark

Warren Kennedy is the senior vice president of Houston operations for the Process & Industrial Group in the Burns & McDonnell Houston office, including oil and gas midstream, refining and chemicals projects. Kennedy had previously worked as an associate process engineer, project manager, and sales and marketing director. He was named director of business development and then was promoted to vice president. Kennedy is a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the National Society of Professional Engineers, and previously served as chairman for the Kansas State University Chemical Engineering Department External Advisory Board. He has a Master of Science in engineering management from the University of Kansas and a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from Kansas State University. For more information about our process and industrial services, contact Ryan Spangler.

Allen Xi, PE, leads the Transmission & Distribution Group for the Houston office of Burns & McDonnell. In this role, he is responsible for the overall profit and loss for power delivery projects in the South and client satisfaction. His duties include contract administration and quality assurance to ensure projects meet clients' goals, objectives and expectations. In his nearly two decades of experience, he has been involved in the design and management of substation projects ranging from 2.3-kV through 345-kV, power system studies from 69-kV through 500-kV and high-voltage DC links. He is a registered professional engineer in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas and is a member of the IEEE Substation Standard Committee and CIGRE. Xi received an MBA from the University of Kansas, Master of Science in electrical engineering from EPRI China and Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from the University of Wuhan in China. For more information on our transmission and distribution services, contact Dana Steph.

Mark Knaack leads the Environmental Group for the Houston office of Burns & McDonnell. His role involves coordinating management of projects in Texas and across the Gulf Coast region. He has specialized in emergency response, environmental insurance and direct assistance in the transfer of environmental responsibilities. He also has extensive experience with regulatory corrective studies for RCRA and CERCLA compliance, serving as both project manager and technical lead on such projects. Mark is a registered hydrologist in Wisconsin and a master's-level certified hazardous materials manager. He earned his Master of Business Administration in management from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and his Bachelor of Science in water resources and water chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

Randy Schmidt, PE, leads the Global Facilities Group for the Houston office of Burns & McDonnell. In his more than a decade of experience managing large projects, Schmidt has gained a meaningful understanding of how management, technical, schedule and cost considerations must be optimally balanced in order for a project to be successful. He specializes in design, engineering and construction of aviation facilities for military and private sector clients, refinery and petrochemical support facilities, and industrial facilities. He is registered professional engineer in Missouri and is a member of the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers and national engineering honor society Tau Beta Pi. Schmidt holds a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from the University of Missouri. For more information about our facilities services, contact Parker Gregg.

Dick Wechtenhiser leads the Construction/Design-Build Group for the Houston office of Burns & McDonnell. In this role, he oversees project management, construction field management, health and safety, project controls, procurement and QA/QC. In his 40 years of experience in engineering, procurement and construction of projects, Wechtenhiser has focused on oil & gas refining and midstream terminals, offshore oil and gas production facilities, petrochemical facilities, electrical transmission and distribution infrastructure, water and wastewater infrastructure and healthcare facilities. He works closely with owners, architects, engineers and facility operators to maximize project success. Wechtenhiser is a member of the Design-Build Institute of America.