Meet Rick Besancon, the professional civil engineer and office manager at Burns & McDonnell (www.burnsmcd.com).
Tell us a little about your business. – Burns & McDonnell is a full-service engineering consulting firm based in Kansas City with offices all over the nation. I opened our Omaha office in 2010 to support the CSO project work in Omaha as well as environmental and energy work. I focus on water resources, stormwater, and ecosystem restoration projects around the country.
How did you get started in the business? – I graduated from the University of Missouri-Rolla and was hired by Burns & McDonnell in the civil hydraulics department of our Infrastructure Division. I have now been here over 26 years.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally? – Starting the Omaha office from scratch. I never realized the amount of energy and work it is to grow an office. I had a huge support system from the KC office and it was still challenging.
Tell us a little about your family. – I’ve been married for 22 years to my wife Lori and we have two daughters, Claire and Kate. Both are active in sports and other activities and it is particularly challenging as Claire attends Millard West and Katie attends Central. Divide and conquer is the name of the game!
What is your favorite thing to do on a day off? – Watching my kids’ sporting events.
Who inspires you? – My wife. She left her job in Kansas City to move to Omaha when I opened the office. She had to start from scratch again here, and she has gone from being the only clinical dietician to being the head of nutrition with 18 or so people reporting to her. All that while doing the heavy lifting with our kids. She is pretty amazing.
If you could choose only one descriptive word to be remembered as, what would it be? – Hard-working.
Which talent would you most like to have? – Play the violin.
If you could choose any other profession to be successful in, what would it be? – Professional baseball.
What local nonprofit organization(s) are you passionate about or involved with, and are there any special reasons why? – Keep Omaha Beautiful and Habitat for Humanity. My father always volunteered with Habitat. I admire the work this organization does to offer strength, stability, and self-reliance for families in need of decent and affordable housing.
What is your favorite book or the last good book you read? – Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin.
What is your favorite movie? – Tommy Boy.
What is your favorite TV show? – Letterkenny.
What is your favorite local restaurant? – The Drover.
If you could have dinner with one famous person from the past or present, who would it be? – Teddy Roosevelt.