Burns and Roe was founded in 1932. From the very beginning, Ralph Roe managed the firm with a vision of exceptional people focused on creating a global service company that provided responsive customer service. In 1963, Kenneth Roe became President, succeeding his father. He led Burns and Roe through a period of unprecedented growth built on strategic customer alliances. He never lost his vision of empowering talented people to meet the challenges of a growing world. Through three generations of family leadership, the Burns and Roe legacy lives on. Today, under the leadership of K. Keith Roe, Our Chairman and CEO, Burns and Roe continues to be a best-in-class service company. The following decade-by-decade summary of summarizes the key events that shaped Burns and Roe.
1930s - On July 30, 1932, after losing their jobs at the Electric Management and Engineering Company (EMEC), Ralph C. Roe, Allan E. Burns, C.E. Lakin, and J.P. Mailler decided to form Burns and Roe Associates. Their desire was to provide high quality engineering and design.
During the beginning of the first year, Burns and Roe Associates took on many of the clients from EMEC, but earned less than $18,000 in five months. Lakin and Mailler grew uneasy and left Burns and Roe Associates for other utilities. Both Burns and Roe decided to continue growing the Company.
Over the next three years, the Company more than doubled its income and added an additional six clients. In September 1935, Allan Burns accepted a job offer from the Utility Management Corporation and severed the partnership. Ralph Roe was now on his own.
After careful consideration, Ralph Roe decided to continue Burns and Roe Associates and incorporated the Company. He chose to keep the name Burns and Roe, feeling that continuity was critical and the new corporation, Burns and Roe, Inc., would benefit from the name recognition earned in the first three years. At this point in time, the Company consisted of only three employees: Ralph, his wife, Esther, and his long-time secretary, Jeannette Laurencelle.
By December 1935, Ralph Roe had 20 engineering patents credited to his name, but business was very slow and very hard to come by. Then, in 1936, Burns and Roe's fortunes changed. The Lansing Board of Water and Electric Light Commission contracted Burns and Roe, Inc., to design the construction of a new 25,000-kilowatt power plant. Ralph's unique design of concealing the stacks behind a modern office building façade earned Burns and Roe many accolades.
After the dedication of the plant in 1939, Power Plant Engineering magazine stated, in its review, "The Ottawa Street station [Lansing power plant] represents a milepost by which technical progress in the industry may well be measured."
The Company was steadily expanding and, by the end of the 1930s, Burns and Roe had a staff of 42 and a strong position in the power plant industry.
Other major projects completed during the 1930s included:
Consolidated Edison - New York City, New York
Jacob E. Decker and Sons - 30 kW Turbines – less–ZoomInfo