Garney welcomes a new CEO and two new Presidents as long-time employee-owners prepare to retire in April 2024. David Burkhart will take over as CEO in October 2023, as Mike Heitmann, current CEO, prepares to retire next spring. Heitmann has been Garney’s CEO since 2011 and has spent his entire 33-year career with the company. Scott Parrish, Garney’s current President, will also retire this spring, ushering in Matt Foster as President of Pipe Operations and Matt Reaves as President of Plant Operations beginning this fall. Parrish started his career with Garney in 1988 working in the field and has served as President since 2018.
“Garney’s next chapter is in good hands under our new leadership” said Heitmann. “I’m fortunate to have spent my entire career with Garney, and I can’t think of a better company I could have worked for. For our next chapter, David Burkhart has the skillset, courage, and vision to propel Garney even farther.”
Burkhart began his career with Garney in 2005 traveling around the country building and managing projects from the Rocky Mountains to Florida, consecutively leading the largest projects at the time for the company. During a 10-year stay in the Texas market, he established Garney as an industry leader for large-scale collaborative delivery projects before returning to Kansas City in 2022. Today, 85 percent of Garney’s current work is built through collaborative delivery methods, including design-build and construction manager at risk.
Burkhart received his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Kansas and has spent his entire professional career at Garney. As CEO, his responsibilities include establishing a clear vision and direction for the company, leading long-term strategic planning and growth, developing and managing the overall company structure, and leading the executive team. Within Garney, Burkhart serves on councils involving Safety; Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB); Risk Management; and Equipment. He was also an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) Trustee for the firm for several years. Garney has been 100% employee owned since 1995.
Coming from a family of educators with roots in the farming communities of western Kansas, Burkhart learned first-hand the values of hard work, integrity, commitment, and supporting others to reach their full potential. Today, he maintains a small farm and ranch operation outside of Kansas City, keeping him close to his roots and serving as a constant reminder of these values.
“Garney has been a self-performing contractor for more than 60 years with a reputation second to none in the water industry,” Burkhart said. “We’ve had tremendous growth and success and will continue to build on this. Moving forward, we’ll add to these skillsets, providing even more complete water solutions for our clients and secure retirements for our employees through our ESOP. This is our sustainable future. I’ve spent my entire career with Garney and am humbled and honored to have the opportunity to lead our people into this next chapter.”
Foster and Reaves have also spent the entirety of their careers with Garney. Foster will be responsible for the organization and management of Garney’s pipeline operations nationwide. He started his career with Garney in 1993 after graduating from Kansas State University. Starting out in the field, Foster traveled around the U.S. building water and sewer pipelines from the Rocky Mountains to the coasts of Virginia. He developed an expertise in large diameter pipelines installed in varying ground conditions around the country, and many of his projects have involved specialized piping materials, unique and challenging construction methods, and collaborative project delivery methods. Foster has served as COO of Western Pipe Operations since 2018 and is based in Garney’s North Kansas City headquarters.
Reaves will be responsible for the organization and management of Garney’s plant operations nationwide. He graduated from the University of Central Florida with a degree in Civil Engineering and joined Encore Construction right out of college (Encore was acquired by Garney in 2012). Reaves began his career in Florida, then traveled around the Southeast supporting and developing operations in various positions and regions. Since joining the industry in 2005, he has managed nearly $2 billion worth of water and wastewater utility infrastructure projects across the U.S., including numerous collaborative delivery projects. Reaves was named Executive Vice President in 2022 and is based in Garney’s Charlotte, North Carolina, office.
“The future of Garney is secure as we welcome David, Matt, and Matt to their new roles in executive leadership,” said Parrish. “All three are highly capable and motivated to continue serving the interests of our employee-owners. It has been an honor to serve the employee-owners of Garney for the last 35 years. Mike and I have been fortunate enough to serve as CEO and President, but the real success of Garney is driven by the leadership team and the committed employees who are the engine of our company. To all those hard-working individuals, I say ‘thank you.’ You have my admiration and respect.”