It had never happened before, and I can only hope it will happen again. A friend had suggested that I introduce CFPA and our mission to Burns & McDonnell, an employee owned, fully integrated engineering, architecture, construction, environmental and consulting firm. He knew that Burns & McDonnell employed foresters and thought they should know about the Connecticut Forest & Park Association (CFPA). The company immediately responded and I met with forester, Chris Fritz, and Marketing Supervisor, Elise Holder. The conversation was fun and active - they shared our values and wanted to be involved. They invited us to make a presentation about trails and committed to a $2000 contribution that day! That was in 2011 and almost every year Burns & McDonnell has maintained or increased their donation. For the last two years, they have been a Forest Level ($5000) Trails Weekend Sponsor.
As with so many of CFPA’s supporters, Burns & McDonnell goes beyond simply writing a check. They encourage their colleagues to get involved and help in the community. Due to the companywide culture of giving back, the firm’s employee owners have established their own foundation that reflects their strong belief in corporate citizenship and philanthropy. The Burns & McDonnell Foundation’s volunteering and grant programs are primarily directed in four strategic areas: Educational Outreach, Environmental Responsibility, Human Services and Arts & Culture. Last year (in line with the company’s commitment to the environment) Elise called and asked if we knew of a school that might like to plant a tree for Arbor Day. Needless to say, we did and so a beautiful tree was planted with the help of Ms. Kochiss’ Earth Club at Woodside Intermediate School, Cromwell. It was a wonderful experience for the students to learn about how to plant a tree and why a proactive conservation ethic is so important.
Burns & McDonnell has a positive culture of giving back to the community and this is demonstrated by their employee involvement locally in Connecticut. CFPA is very fortunate to have Tom Degnan of Burns & McDonnell as both a board member and the Association’s forester. Tom has done everything from help with advocacy efforts to working a water table at Run for the Woods. A team of Burns & McDonnell employees also participates in the CFPA’s Run for Woods event every year.
Burns & McDonnell was established in 1898 and has a national presence. The firm just won 10th Best Place to Work in CT by the Hartford Business Journal (the 6th year in a row on the list) and is ranked 15th on the FORTUNE’s 100 Best Companies to Work For. CFPA thanks them for helping to protect Connecticut forests, parks and trails.