Moving on Up

Moving on Up

Tony Kimmey’s Looking for a Bigger Piece of the Transportation Pie

For Tony Kimmey, Burns & McDonnell regional transportation manager in Dallas, designing, building and experimenting are ingrained. From an early age, he enjoyed experimenting with design and architecture, often using his parents' garage as his project site.

"It was always something in my DNA," Kimmey says. "As my dad used to say, I was always good at making sawdust."

That zeal for working with his hands and bringing his visions to fruition was integral recently when he and his wife, Patricia, built a new home. He was very involved in the design and planning, feeding his passion for architecture, and realized not everyone sees things as vividly as he does.

"I can really visualize things in 3-D pretty well — I guess I have a good imagination," Kimmey says. "In working with my wife, I realized that ability to see the end product is not universal."

Two years ago Kimmey brought that vision — and his ability to build strong relationships — to Burns & McDonnell as the regional transportation manager in Dallas. Texas is rich with transportation work, and over the past 25 years he has become the go-to guy for those services — and that made him the most sought-after guy to join the firm.

"During the eight years I spent in the Texas market before joining Burns & McDonnell, Tony was always my biggest competition — he won more than his share of head-to-head project pursuits," says Ben Biller, vice president in Transportation at Burns & McDonnell. "So when it came to time to focus on building our transportation capabilities in Dallas, he was first on my list of people to get on our team."

The Road to Ownership

Before joining Burns & McDonnell, Kimmey spent nearly 20 years with Carter & Burgess Inc., an architecture/engineering firm based in Dallas, where he rose to the rank of transportation unit manager. When the firm was acquired by Jacobs Engineering Group Inc., he was instrumental in combining the infrastructure groups from both companies. He transitioned from his role as operations manager, leading more than 400 engineers in two large market areas, to become head of sales for the same regions.

But in 2009, when Biller reached out to him about a possible opportunity with Burns & McDonnell, Kimmey was immediately interested. The firm offered the same kind of spirit he'd known with Carter & Burgess, and he realized it was something he'd been missing.

"I learned more about the company and its entrepreneurial spirit - that really piqued my interest," Kimmey says. "Burns & McDonnell is more of a community-based organization. It maintains a strong local management presence — not just reporting back to the corporation."

Perhaps what fueled Kimmey's interest most was that he would become part owner of the company, meaning his efforts have a direct impact on him, his colleagues and, most importantly, his clients. Throughout his career, one constant has been Kimmey's genuine desire to make his clients successful, which is exactly what Burns & McDonnell sets out to do.

"He's a really great guy," says Leslie Duke, vice president and regional office manager of the Burns & McDonnell Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston offices. "He has this enthusiasm that is infectious. He was meant to be an employee-owner, and he works relentlessly for a company he considers his. It really goes to his passion for what he does."

Right Place, Right Time

Kimmey's move to Burns & McDonnell was a perfect fit at a perfect time — for him and the firm. Transportation work had been growing, and soon after Kimmey joined the firm, Burns & McDonnell acquired Harrington & Cortelyou, a leading bridge design firm in Kansas City with nationally recognized work.

The time was ripe to focus on ramping up transportation services in Texas, and Kimmey would have an open field to feed his entrepreneurial passion. The Burns & McDonnell Transportation Group was born, and Kimmey has been instrumental in growing the practice in Texas.

"Tony put our firm on the map as a transportation company in Texas," Duke says. "Burns & McDonnell had never done a transportation project in Texas before Tony came on board, and in his first year he landed huge wins — with almost no staff — based solely on his reputation in the region."

Over the past two years, Kimmey has won $8 million in projects, including the reconstruction of U.S. 75 north of McKinney, Texas, the McKinney downtown street improvement plan, and construction management services for the new Chisholm Trail Parkway toll road from Fort Worth to Cleburne, Texas, among others.

Moving Forward

There's a lot more to come from Kimmey. As the transportation industry picks up momentum and funding becomes available for more public-sector projects, he'll be the first in line to snag the big ones — particularly for design-build and railway business.

For now, Kimmey's excited about the strides he's made with his team and expects to keep growing the Transportation practice in Texas as the economy improves.

"I'm still hungry for growth," Kimmey says. "I see us doubling the staff of transportation professionals in Dallas — and growing from there."

Contact Tony at 972-455-3112.

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