Renita Mollman

Chief Administrative Officer, Burns & McDonnell

30+ Years in the A/E/C Industry



Name:  Renita Mollman

Position: Chief Administrative Officer

Firm: Burns & McDonnell

Number of years in the A/E/C industry: 30+

Biggest challenge of your career so far?
The biggest challenge in my career thus far was starting in such a male-dominated field without a role model that looked like me to learn from and to help me navigate challenges. I was also very timid and shy when I first started my career, so having to break out of my shell and find my voice was a real challenge.

What is a key tip you could provide to an emerging leader?

Always be open to the opportunities that arise that you weren’t necessarily expecting or anticipating. They can lead to incredible experiences of growth and development if you keep an open mind. Also, listen more, talk less. And don’t take yourself too seriously — try to have fun every day.

What's your favorite moment of your career so far?

My favorite moments of my career have been being able to grow and develop some really strong teams and mentor so many young professional women pursuing STEM careers. At Burns & McDonnell, we’ve seen firsthand how diversity leads to better, more creative solutions for our clients. And the strength of tomorrow’s STEM leaders depends on their diverse and collective vision, so it has been important to me to give back to our communities and inspire young girls to consider a career in engineering. It’s also very rewarding that two of my nieces followed in my footsteps and went into the engineering profession.

Guilty Pleasure: What can you not live without?

My favorite thing to do has been made much more challenging with the pandemic: traveling and spending time with family. I have three sisters and we try to go on a few trips every year together. As for a guilty pleasure, it would have to be enjoying a little bit of chocolate each day.

Future prediction: What is coming in the industry within the next 10 years?

In the next decade, technology will only continue to become a greater part of our lives and our industries. In today’s environment, successfully achieving business continuity for our clients while maintaining a keen focus on the safety and health of our workforce and clients is requiring even higher levels of communication, resource planning, increased use of technology and adaptability to ever-changing conditions.

Augmented reality, 3D scanning and remote applications allow teams to reduce travel, obtain required field data and make knowledge available to local personnel while reducing site activities. Headsets with video, audio, location, and communication capabilities allow information to be shared in real time while freeing the local users’ hands to perform activities. This also reduces the number of people onsite and on public transit to allow for improved social distancing.

Artificial intelligence (AI) will continue benefiting the design and construction industry and we may see all-new processes. Real-time design models based on AI technology won’t take humans out of the process, but can enable more rapid decisions and allow designers and builders to cross-check human judgments and decisions. Speech recognition and visual interactions through cameras and sensors can allow AI solutions to be aware of the environment and gather information very quickly to enable better decisions by humans.