STEM Professional of the week

Gabriel Hernandez, PE      
Burns & McDonnell

Gabriel Hernandez truly embodies the traditional value of hard work. Born and raised in Topeka, Kansas, he grew up in a Mexican-American family where he was witness to his grandfather’s relentless and hardworking spirit. This experience supplied Gabriel with the understanding that achieving any dream, would require sacrifice, risk-taking and hard work.

The first steps towards that dream, came by way of his first job as a janitor, pushing a broom and cleaning toilets, which taught him to do each job to the best of his abilities regardless of complexity. His second job involved digging trenches as part of a job on a construction crew, where he helped to install gas transmission lines by digging trenches.

After graduating high school, Gabriel attended and eventually graduated from Kansas State University with a degree in electrical engineering. He would become the first in his family to obtain a college degree and also paved the way for his younger brother to follow suit. Gabriel didn’t stop there. He went on to earn an Executive MBA degree from the University of Missouri, Kansas City and is a registered Professional Engineer in the states of California, Kansas and Virginia.

While finishing his undergraduate education, Gabriel was fortunate to land an internship with Raytheon’s aircraft division and soon after graduating college began his professional career with Hallmark Cards as a packing manager. Then came the opportunity of a lifetime. Gabriel was hired as an Assistant Electrical Engineer for Burns & McDonnell, one of the leading engineering design firms in the United States.

Several positions and two decades later, Gabriel is considered as one of the most influential professionals at Burns & McDonnell. He is currently the Vice President of Substation Projects for the most profitable global practice where he specializes in the design of electrical power substations. He also manages over 300 engineers in the Transmission & Distribution global practice, and is the only Hispanic officer at Burns & McDonnell.

His previous roles have included project management, substation client coordination and electrical engineering design for the Transmission & Distribution Groups. He has been involved in the design and construction of several substation projects across the country ranging in size from 12.47-kV to 500-kV.

Gabriel has paved a bright pathway for other Hispanic engineers. As his career progressed, so did his role as a community and civic leader for the company. He was elected chair of the firm’s Diversity Committee and was instrumental in establishing Diversity Week, a celebration where employees focus on learning about diverse cultures around the world.

View More Professionals of the Week