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Inquiring Minds Want to Know

As was said in the old E.F. Hutton television commercials, inquiring minds want to know. What about this 1898 & Co.? Now that it's launched, and all of one day old, what's the plan?

We talked with three of its leaders, to get the scoop while the launch was still fresh. Here's some brief excerpts from our interview:

PUF: What's this all about?

Chris Underwood: 1898 & Co. is a new face of the consulting arm of Burns & McDonnell. More than that, it's the acknowledgement and our response to the fact that our clients' lives are changing at a rapid pace.

PUF: You will still have a lot of that culture of Burns & McDonnell?

Chris Underwood: The power of 1898 & Co. is recognized when we couple it with the subject matter experts, the deep bench that is Burns & McDonnell. The folks that have been designing and building the very infrastructure we're consulting against.

PUF: In order to work at 1898 & Co., do you have to know Ohm's Law at least?

Lucas McIntosh: It is true that we have a fair amount of electrical engineers, at 1898, as does Burns & McDonnell. But we actually have quite a few economists, data scientists, software developers.

Bryan Hawthorne: There's a full team of things that people may not traditionally think about with an architect-engineering firm. We can bring a lot of unique solutions and value to clients that you probably wouldn't expect from a traditional architect-engineering firm or from a traditional management consulting firm.

PUF: What drove you all to this?

Lucas McIntosh: The very distinct brand that Burns & McDonnell represents in clients' minds would sometimes lead them not to ask us questions that we could provide good answers to. Or to not ask us for services that we were well equipped to provide.

Chris Underwood: We wanted a name that is very much part-and-parcel with all things Burns & Mc. And so 1898 is not only the year we were founded. It's more than that.

We wanted to capture the spirit of the times. You think about what was happening at the turn of the century. There are a lot of similarities to the pace of change that was happening at that time. Folks getting electricity and water for the first time in rural communities. That was a lot of change in a short amount of time. And with that change came a lot of opportunities.

But then also the spirit of our founders. Think about what it took, the enterprising mentality to be young twenty-year-old's from California, to pack it all up and take a train to Kansas City to hang your flag. It took a lot of vision, a lot of courage, and a lot of belief in themselves. And so that's what we're trying to capture within one name.