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BH President and CEO Brian Funkhouser Celebrates 40th Anniversary with Firm

BH President and CEO Brian Funkhouser then and now

2020 marks not only Buchart Horn’s 75th year in business designing and shaping infrastructure for the future, but also President and CEO Brian S. Funkhouser, PE’s 40th year working for the firm. Today, he manages overall operations, mentors staff, and leads the company in providing high-quality architectural and engineering services to our clients. We recently sat down with Brian to commemorate his anniversary and reflect on his four decades at Buchart Horn.

Q: What are some of your earliest memories of BH?

A: Forty years ago, we were doing a significant amount of EPA grant projects. We had several new sewer and wastewater treatment projects for communities that were unsewered, and the EPA paid for 70-80% of the project costs. These were great learning opportunities for me as a young Engineer in Training. They introduced me to all aspects of our business, from design to specification writing, estimating, and construction inspection. There were no desktop computers or CADD, so our sewer designs were done on a large mainframe computer using FORTRAN. All drawings and calculations had to be done by hand.

One of the most interesting times for me personally came when we were first hired by the Army Corps of Engineers Europe District for several master planning projects in 1985. Traveling to Germany to help start up a Buchart Horn office in Frankfurt that fall was an exciting and memorable time.

Q: Can you tell us about the first project you worked on at BH?

A: The first project I worked on was the Northern York Sewer Project. This project, which served most of Newberry, Fairview and Conewago Townships in York County, PA, included nearly 60 miles of sewers, two treatment plants, and numerous pumping stations. We were also responsible for acquiring rights-of-way for the sewers, which I got to be involved with. That was not my most enjoyable experience, as many folks were opposed to sewers.

Q: What roles have you had over the years, and when did you become President and CEO?

A: I have worked as EIT 1, EIT 2, Senior Engineer, Project Engineer Assistant, Director of Environmental Engineering, Manager of State College Office, Regional Vice President, and COO of PACE Resources. I became President and CEO of Buchart Horn in 2008.

Q: You also oversee Buchart Horn’s Germany operations. What is that like, and how do you manage being an international president?

A: Serving as Geschäftsführer for our Germany office has provided quite a unique management opportunity. Only one employee is a US citizen and the remainder are foreign nationals. Most of them speak some English, which is good since I do not speak German. Our Manager, Uli Page, has done an excellent job and speaks fluent English, which makes communication much easier.

Opening the overseas office in 1985 was quite a leap, but has turned out to be one of the firm’s greatest accomplishments. The leaders at the time, John Jung, Ray Best, and Doug Haller saw a great opportunity to expand internationally and seized on it. The bulk of our work is for the US military, but we have some significant local clients such as Vodafone and the Mormon Church as well. The opportunity to work in Germany made me much more comfortable taking on my current duties.

Q: What have you valued most about Buchart Horn’s culture over the past 40 years?

A: Our founder Russell E. Horn, Sr. wrote a book on his management philosophy, which formed the backbone of the firm’s culture and vision. The emphasis on ethics and doing our work with integrity has always been the key to our successes as one of the first A/E firms in the United States.

For me, developing relationships with our clients has always been the best part. Many have become close friends. I value this as much as the engineering designs we have performed.