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CEAS Graduate Inducted Into Rock Springs High School Hall of Fame

July 6, 2017
Pat Burns
CEAS graduate Brig. Gen. Pat Burns was inducted into the Rock Springs High School Hall of Fame.

After a decades-long distinguished professional career, Brig. Gen. Pat Burns has been recognized for his many achievements. Burns, a notable alumni of the University of Wyoming College of Engineering and Applied Science, was inducted into the Rock Springs (Wyo.) High School Hall of Fame in May 2017.
Burns was inducted along with eight other individuals and one sports team for the RSHS Hall of Fame. His contributions to UW are numerous. He serves as a CEAS National Advisory Board member, a member of the Wyoming Governor’s Energy, Engineering, STEM Integration Task Force, he was a 2005 recipient of the CEAS Distinguished Alumni award and he served as the 2011 spring commencement speaker for the CEAS.
Born and raised in Rock Springs, Burns graduated high school in 1966 and subsequently enrolled at UW. He earned a bachelor's in mechanical engineering (1973) and later earned a master's in systems management from the University of Southern California. He was drafted in 1970 during the Vietnam War, and served four years enlisted duty with the U.S. Air Force Security Service prior to being commissioned at Officer Training School in December 1974. He commanded a base support group and civil engineer squadron, and served in a wide range of civil engineer positions. Burns was one of the first pilot engineers for the early 1970s USAF energy simulations test program, and later helped lead corresponding Strategic Air Command energy initiatives.
In 1981, Burns was selected for a 10-month sabbatical with Dallas-Ft. Worth Airport to study how civilian airports were administered. He served as an aide for former President Ronald Reagan’s 1985 inauguration. In August 1990, he deployed to Saudi Arabia as Combat Support Group Commander to bed down the 48th Tactical Fighter Wing in support of Operation Desert Shield. After the events of Sept. 11, 2001, he led his Air Combat Command staff in planning, programming and executing more than $800 million in construction at 23 bases in 11 countries to support the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He traveled frequently to all 11 countries in the war zone and was responsible for follow-up construction at 14 bases to support continued U.S. presence in southwest Asia, totaling $1.4 billion.
Burns retired from the Air Force in October 2005 as a brigadier general, having served as the Director of Installations, Headquarters Air Combat Command (ACC), Langley Air Force Base (Va.) responsible for more than $2.4 billion in annual projects. He led planning, programming, construction, operation, maintenance and services for all ACC facilities, housing, and infrastructure, and the oversight of contingency engineering, contingency service fire protection, explosive ordinance disposal, security, force protection, and chemical/biological protection programs.
After retiring from military service, he joined Mortensen Construction as vice president in its federal contracting group in Washington, D.C., working design-build projects across the U.S. Mortensen was the 25th-largest general contractor in the U.S., and well known for very complex construction as a prominent builder of sports stadiums. Burns grew Mortensen’s design-build business from $90 million in 2005 to more than $1 billion when he retired in 2012. He co-authored the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) “Building Information Modeling (BIM)” Manual of Practice, and was nationally known speaker on BIM and columnist for DBIA Magazine.
Burns has been given multiple awards, including:

  • Distinguished Graduate of Officer Training School (1974)
  • Distinguished Graduate of Squadron Officer School (1980)
  • Air Force Civil Engineering Military Manager of the Year (1983)
  • Distinguished Graduate of Air Command & Staff College (1988)
  • Civil Engineering Senior Military Manager of the Year in USAF Europe (1989)
  • Department of Defense Installation Excellence Individual Award (1990)
  • Air Combat Command Civil Engineer Newman Medal Winner (1997)
  • Fellow-Society of American Military Engineers (2000)
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers DeFleury Medal (2001)
  • Building Magazine named his organization one of the “Top Twenty-Five Innovative Building Organizations in the U.S. (2004)
  • Engineering News Record (ENR) Magazine named Burns one of the “Top 25 Engineer Newsmakers” and he was featured on the cover of the magazine (2005)
  • Presidential Distinguished Service Medal
  • Legion of Merit
  • Meritorious Service Medal with 6 Oak Leaf Clusters
  • Air Force Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster
  • Air Force Achievement Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster
  • Outstanding Unit Award with 5 Oak Leaf Clusters
  • Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
  • Southwest Asia Service MedalGlobal War on Terrorism Medal
  • Global War on Terrorism Medal

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