Construction techniques, technology, services and
needs all tend to evolve — and after nearly four
decades, such ongoing advancements combine
into next-generation approaches, even new species
But one thing remains constant: commitment.
“Safety, security and customer service are always —
always — top of mind for airports,” says Bret Pilney,
vice president in the Aviation Group at
Burns & McDonnell. “No matter what an airport
operator is working on, it has to be safe and secure —
for airlines, for passengers, for employees, for
everyone. And that goes along with customer service.
To get projects done, and to make them successful
in a 24/7 environment, you cannot a;ord to ease
up. You must meet and exceed your clients’ needs
For Randy Pope, the group’s senior vice president,
commitment means taking the right approach —
“That’s what good airports do,” he says. “That’s what
they expect. That’s what they need.”
Since joining the firm in 1978, Pope has worked on
projects from nearby Kansas City International Airport
to hubs around the world: a wide-body hangar in
Hawaii, a corporate flight center outside the nation’s
capital, military support facilities in Egypt and dozens
more at points in between.
While he’s seen plenty of change during his 38 years —
he’s helped update fire codes, for example, for fueling
systems, hangars, terminals and passenger boarding
bridges — he knows clients will continue to desire
and deserve the full, detailed and innovative attention
they’ve come to expect from their contracting
professionals. Airports may be busier than ever with
design and construction projects, but that doesn’t
mean they have to sacrifice results.
As Pope prepares to retire at the end of this year,
the projects he’s worked on — and the industry
initiatives he’s helped lead — o;er some signals
for the future.
Among Pope’s early projects was planning and design
for an aircraft maintenance facility for China Airlines
in Taipei, Taiwan. Back in the 1970s, the airline needed
room for its growing fleet, as the Boeing 747 became
airlines’ international workhorse.
The hangar would be big enough to cover two Boeing
747s. As electrical engineer, he worked on 400-Hz and
60-Hz power systems in the power shops and ramp
areas, in coordination with local professionals.
Years later he would help Burns & McDonnell land
an even larger project, this time on China’s mainland:
design for a four-bay, wide-body overhaul and
maintenance base at Shanghai Pudong International
Airport. The facility was designed to handle four
747s at once, and to include state-of-the-art paint
A CLEAR VISION
As Demands Change, Needs for Safety, Security and Client Service Remain Consistent