Why have you supported the program?

The IEEE PES Scholarship Plus Program provides students with an opportunity to learn more about the power industry and the incredible career opportunities that are available in utilities, in consulting, and elsewhere in the industry. We’re facing a big need for talented engineers who are interested in the power industry. We really want to help make students more aware of the power industry and the opportunities that are available. Right now a lot of exciting things are happening in the power industry. We want people to get excited, get exposed to and learn about what we’re doing. The way the scholarship is set up, including both academic requirements and industry experience, allows students to build technical skillsets through their coursework and an internship/coop. These skillsets help the students develop into more qualified candidates for our industry.

Burns & McDonnell

Kansas City MO

Burns & McDonnell is a full-service engineering, architecture, construction, environmental and consulting solutions firm, based in Kansas City, Missouri. They have a staff of 5,700 includes engineers, architects, construction professionals, planners, estimators, economists, technicians and scientists, representing virtually all design disciplines.

How has your organization benefited from supporting the PES Scholarship Plus Initiative?

Burns & McDonnell has always been very heavily involved in the PES Scholarship Plus Initiative – from promoting the scholarship to students at the universities we visit, to participating in PES activities and attending conferences. Employees within our company mentor Scholars, and we promote the initiative internally to our own candidates and intern hires as well. As a recruiter, when I’m looking at a candidate and I see that they have an IEEE PES Scholarship listed on their resume, I know that they are coming to the job with good grades and relevant experience in the power industry. These qualifications differentiate them from other candidates, and that means that the PES Scholarship Plus Initiative helps us to identify a candidate that stands out from the rest.

Aside from that, I believe the industry as a whole needs people who are interested in power. Our clients need these people, we need these people and the future of our industry depends on these people. The PES Scholarship Plus Initiative allows us, as professionals in the power industry, to get more people interested and involved.

In the end, it’s mutually beneficial for us to be involved in the Scholarship Plus Initiative because we are getting more people to choose power engineering instead of another field of study. I think companies that invest in the Initiative will find that it not only benefits the industry but it benefits them as a company as well. By encouraging these students to get involved, and providing them opportunities in the industry, it creates a more knowledgeable pool of talent than we’ve previously had. The more high quality talent we have in the industry talent pool, the better each of our companies will be because of it.

What distinguishes a PES Scholarship recipient from other candidates?

A candidate who has received a PES Scholarship will come into a job interview with better knowledge of our industry and a better understanding of what our company’s role in the power industry is. Receiving the scholarship and being exposed to the opportunities that come with it gives a candidate more confidence that this is the right field for them and that they are qualified for the work they will be doing. Most importantly, having been involved in the scholarship program gives candidates a better network of other power professionals already working in the industry. That helps them both while they are job searching and once they start a job. When we can hire someone who knows about and is passionate about the industry they’re working in, it definitely makes them a better employee.

Do you still believe there is a need for the program?

This scholarship program has done amazing things for our industry already, and while we have experience the benefits of those students who have gone through the program, the industry is still hurting for talent. When it comes to academic world, some universities teach a power engineering curriculum, and some don’t. For those students who are in universities that don’t have a power engineering program, this initiative may be the only way we can get in front of them to show them the opportunities that are out there. We are seeing schools get more specific in terms of the courses that are offered in electrical engineering, and if power engineering is not among those course offerings, those students are unlikely to be drawn toward our industry. So this scholarship allows us to reach students and get them excited about power, which will hopefully lead them to a career in power.

In my opinion the PES Scholarship Plus Initiative is needed even more now than ever. The market has and will continue to need qualified electrical engineers, and as the market continues to evolve, that need is only going to grow. The candidates we’re looking for to fill the needs of the power industry will need to come in with passion, ideas and new skillsets. These candidates will need to be able to look at where the power industry is now and be able to incorporate new technology to make it safe, reliable, efficient and meet the next generation of challenges.

Matt Rosentreter,
College Recruiter, Burns & McDonnell