Distinguished Alumni Awards

Newton A. Campbell

Newton A. Campbell
To Newton A. Campbell for his distinguished leadership and innovation in design of complex facilities, employee ownership, and corporate citizenship and philanthropy.

Chairman Emeritus, Burns & McDonnell, Engineers-Architects-Consultants, Kansas City, Missouri

  • BS, 1949, Electrical Engineering, University of Illinois
  • MBA, 1970, University of Missouri, Kansas City

Newton Campbell began his 41-year career with Burns & McDonnell as an electrical engineer, designing power plants and substations. Because of his technical excellence and leadership, he rose within the organization as he served clients on many large, capital-intensive, and technically innovative projects. Under his leadership, Burns & McDonnell engineered some 15,000 megawatts of electrical generating capacity, mostly coal fired, throughout the United States. Innovations developed under his leadership included the first compressed air energy storage (CAES) plant in the United States and the world's first application of ice storage to increase the peaking power of combustion turbines.

Campbell rose to leadership of Burns & McDonnell, serving as chairman and CEO of the 1,100-person international engineering firm from 1985-1994. In 1982, he became president of Burns & McDonnell, and in 1983 he was named president of the Armco Professional Services Division, of which Burns & McDonnell was a part. He was responsible for the engineering, design, and construction services of the four constituent companies. In 1985, Armco divested these companies, and Campbell led the former Burns & McDonnell employees in forming an employee stock ownership plan, which resulted in their buying the firm back from Armco and becoming 100 percent employee owned. Since then, the firm has experienced remarkable growth, prosperity, and stability. During his tenure, Burns & McDonnell has ranked among the top engineering firms in an annual survey by the industry. He continues to serve clients by consulting on particularly complex projects.

Through Campbell's leadership, Burns & McDonnell has endowed a charitable foundation that focuses on education. Activities include the establishment of undergraduate scholarships and other financial contributions to several Midwestern universities, including UIUC. He received the distinguished alumni award from UIUC's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in 1991 and an alumni achievement award from the University of Missouri, Kansas City and in 1980 was named Man of the Year by the Kansas State University Chapter of Tau Beta Pi. Campbell serves on the Board of Directors of United Missouri Bancshares and the Oglethrope Power Corporation, is a member of the University of Kansas City Trustees, and is a trustee of the Midwest Research Institute. He serves as chair of the Board of Science Pioneers, a nonprofit organization that sponsors the Greater Kansas City Science Fair for elementary and secondary students, and is the director of the YMCA of the Rockies at Estes Park, Colorado.

Current as of 1997.