Pat Burns was born and raised in Rock Springs, Wyoming, the son of Pat “P.H.” and Anne (Begovich) Burns. He attended St Cyril & Methodius Catholic School, Rock Springs High School, graduated from the University of Wyoming with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, and earned an M.S in Systems Management from USC.
Pat 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 Dec 1974. Pat had 21 assignments during his 35 years of military service. In Dec 1984, he served as an Aide to the First Family for Ronald Reagan’s 1985 Presidential Inauguration. In Aug 1990, he deployed to Saudi Arabia to bed down the 48th Tactical Fighter Wing in support of Operation Desert Shield. After the events of Sep 11, 2001, he led his Air Combat Command staff in planning, programming and executing $1.3B in bed down construction at 23 bases in 11 foreign countries in 16 weeks to support the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Pat is one of only a handful of military officers to serve in four wars.
Pat retired from the Air Force as a Brigadier General on Oct 1, 2005 as the Director of Installations, Headquarters Air Combat Command (ACC), Langley Air Force Base, VA responsible for over $2.4B in projects annually. He assumed that duty in Feb 2001, after having served in the same capacity for Pacific Air Forces Command (PACAF) in charge of engineering support for all Air Force bases in the Pacific from 1999 to 2001.
After retiring from the Air force, Pat joined Mortenson Construction in Oct 2005 as Vice President in their Federal Contracting Group in Washington, DC, developing design-build projects across the U.S. Pat grew their Federal design-build business from $90M in 2005 when he was hired, to over $1B when he retired in 2012. He co-authored the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) “Building Information Modeling (BIM)” Manual of Practice, and was a nationally known speaker on BIM and columnist for DBIA Magazine. Pat retired from Mortenson in Jan 2012, and now serves as a part-time private consultant in the design and construction industry.
Pat’s key awards include “Distinguished Graduate of Officer Training School” in 1974, “Distinguished Graduate of Squadron Officer School” in 1980; “Air Force Civil Engineering Military Manager of the Year” in 1983”; “Distinguished Graduate of Air Command & Staff College” in 1988; “Civil Engineering Senior Military Manager of the Year in USAF Europe” in 1989; “DoD Installation Excellence Individual Award” in 1990; “Air Combat Command Civil Engineer Newman Medal Winner” in 1997; “Fellow-Society of American Military Engineers” in 2000; and US Army Corps of Engineers “DeFleury Medal” in 2001. Buildings Magazine named his organization one of the “Top Twenty-Five Innovative Building Organizations in the U.S. for 2004”. Engineering News Record (ENR) Magazine named Pat one of the “Top 25 Engineer Newsmakers for 2005”. And, the University of Wyoming also recognized Pat with the College of Engineering “2005 Distinguished Alumni Award” that same year.
Pat and his wife Diane (Deneley) reside in Cody, WY in the summer and Goodyear, AZ in the winter enjoying golf, pickleball, and pool time in retirement. Pat has two sisters who both excelled at RSHS and had highly successful teaching careers: Karen Carney who now resides in San Antonio, TX; and Sandy Steele who now resides in Denver, CO.