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Burns & McDonnell Senior Engineer – Underground Distribution Engineer (Chicago / Detroit / Pittsburgh) in Chicago, Illinois


At Burns & McDonnell, opportunity is waiting. We’re looking for people with big ideas and an entrepreneurial mindset. It’s those kinds of people who’ve helped us grow from a small consulting business back in 1898 to a global leader in engineering, construction, and consulting solutions. Today, we’re a thriving company with over 8,000 professionals working in 50 offices worldwide, 100% employee-owned firm.

We’re growing our Underground Electric Distribution design and construction business and have opportunities for experienced and motivated industry professionals to join us. As we continue our journey to help make our clients successful, we’re looking for well-rounded individuals who can execute projects holistically for both electrical and civil distribution design. We have a specific opportunity for an experienced underground distribution engineer to join our transmission and distribution team.

At Burns & McDonnell, we are addressing projects across the country that range widely in complexity and voltage. We are supporting our clients as they take on new challenges to rebuild their electric grid to support the challenges of tomorrow. With our clients’ needs in this area expanding rapidly we are looking for engineers to join our team and help drive the vision for tomorrow’s electric grid. We are Burns & McDonnell and we Create Amazing.

The Underground Distribution Engineer will focus on below grade electrical distribution engineering design on underground power utility projects ranging from 2.4kV to 34.5kV voltage classes. This role requires the ability to handle multiple projects and to prioritize work. This position will be responsible for the development an array of challenging items including the drafting and design of engineering deliverables on multiple complex utility distribution projects. This position will require interface with utility clients, subcontractors and collaboration with multiple offices. This role is responsible for:

  • Leading design teams in the preparation, development, and execution of distribution engineering design packages for underground construction.

  • Leading technical scope review for project proposals including developing engineering hours estimates, identifying project complexities & risks, and determining project schedule working in collaboration with project managers and resource managers.

  • Determine construction feasibility through route studies, conflict analysis, and construction cost estimating.

  • Drives technical leadership while providing quality and constructability reviews for project work executed by others and self.

  • Work closely with local and national leadership to develop new clients and continue building relationships with existing clients.

  • Support business development efforts with new clients across North America.

  • Support thought leadership including conference attendance, marketing, and other internal initiatives.

  • Prepare and develop distribution and transmission voltage construction packages for underground projects, including manhole and equipment installation, conduit and duct bank design, feeder replacement, cable replacement, and new feeder design.

  • Coordinates work requiring judgment in the independent evaluation, selection, adaptation and modification of standard engineering techniques, procedures and criteria.

  • Provide leadership, guidance, and instruction to less experienced staff members.

  • Regularly meet and correspond with clients, subcontractors, or outside personnel.

  • Other duties as assigned.

Assignments may include:

  • Design distribution systems utilizing client standards of underground distribution facilities including distribution equipment installation, feeder replacement, overhead to underground conversions, cable replacement, conduit and manhole design, new feeder design, and others as assigned.

  • Develop routing analysis for the design of low to medium voltage distribution lines using CADD/GIS design and mapping software.

  • Determine construction feasibility through route studies, conflict analysis, and construction cost estimating.

  • Routing, design, and execution of underground distribution line projects.

  • Prepare proposals and engineering/project cost estimates.

  • Prepare calculations and equipment specifications.

  • Perform field inspections, measurements, or other data collection for overhead and underground electric facilities on public and private utility systems.

  • Assess feasibility or soundness of proposed applications when data is insufficient, or testing is advisable.

  • Prepare calculations and assist with equipment specifications, such as cable pulling calculations, voltage drop, pole loading.

  • Perform QA/QC reviews of exhibits, reports, and construction design packages.

  • Work closely with the project team to ensure that projects are following internal QA/QC guidelines.

  • Work closely with the project team to ensure deliverables and services are being provided to client’s satisfaction.

  • Provide leadership, guidance, and instruction to less experienced staff members.

  • Regularly meet and correspond with clients, subcontractors, or outside personnel.

  • Other duties as assigned.


  • Bachelor’s degree in electrical/civil/mechanical engineering or related degree from ABET accredited program.

  • Minimum 7 years of underground distribution and/or transmission engineering, design or construction experience.

  • Extensive knowledge of underground construction methods, knowledge of distribution system equipment, and utilizing field data and record information to aide in design.

  • Understanding of power flow systems.

  • Understanding of underground electrical distribution infrastructure including civil and electrical engineering components and ability to propose solutions to complex problems.

  • Familiarity with NESC code for electrical design and construction guidelines.

  • Familiarity with topographic mapping, surveying, and subsurface utility information as it applies to design projects

  • Field experience including engineering construction support or facility inspection for utility engineering projects a plus.

  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills.

  • Knowledgeable of telecommunications, renewables and distribution generation integration, and advanced technologies a plus.

  • Must be capable to handle multiple projects simultaneously and to prioritize work.

  • Professional Engineering License (PE) preferred.


Job Engineering

Primary Location US-IL-Chicago

Other Locations US-MI-Detroit, US-PA-Pittsburgh

Schedule: Full-time

Travel: Yes, 25 % of the Time

Req ID: 230642 Job Hire Type Experienced