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Dr. Christopher Burke Elected to National Academy of Engineering

February 12th, 2021

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NAE membership among highest professional distinctions conferred to an engineer

Dr. Christopher B. Burke, PhD, PE, D.WRE, Dist.M.ASCE, NAC has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), the premier engineering organization in the country and part of The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Election to the NAE is highly selective and is commonly regarded as one of the highest professional honors an engineer can achieve.

Over a 38-year career, Dr. Burke has established himself as a leader in the engineering profession, academia and community involvement. In electing him to the Class of 2021, the NAE recognized Dr. Burke’s “leadership in executing complex water resources projects and service to the engineering community.”

Dr. Burke is the CEO of Rosemont-based Christopher B. Burke Engineering, Ltd. (CBBEL), a consulting engineering and surveying firm that he founded in 1986 after earning his doctorate from Purdue University. Under his 34 years of leadership, Dr. Burke grew the firm from a one-man office to $100 million in annual revenue and created The Burke Group, a consortium of engineering consulting companies with more than 400 employees in offices across Illinois and Indiana.

Over three decades in business, Dr. Burke and CBBEL have solved complex infrastructure problems for hundreds of municipal and private clients. CBBEL’s water resources team, guided by Dr. Burke, has completed more than 1,700 water-related projects and have earned the reputation as a leader in water resources engineering.

Under his leadership, the CBBEL team has designed innovative multi-modal transportation projects in some of Chicago’s largest suburbs, reinvigorated municipal downtown corridors with landmark streetscapes and restored natural habitats to aid conservation efforts and foster the growth of native wildlife.

Outside of his work at CBBEL, Dr. Burke has helped guide and grow the engineering field, chairing all the preeminent professional societies in Illinois, including the Illinois section of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Council of Engineering Companies – IL and the Western Society of Engineers.

For the last 20 years, Dr. Burke has served as a professor of practice at the University of Illinois Chicago, foregoing his salary for UIC to fund scholarships for engineering students. In addition to teaching, Dr. Burke serves on UIC’s Civil Engineering and Engineering Deans committees.

“Not only has Chris taught at UIC for almost two decades, he has also helped support the next generation of engineers by hiring nearly 100 UIC students as full-time employees and interns at CBBEL,” said Dr. Peter Nelson, Dean of Engineering at University of Illinois Chicago. “We’re fortunate and proud to have Chris on the faculty at UIC and congratulate him on this well-deserved honor.”

At his alma mater, Purdue University, Dr. Burke chaired the President’s Council, the Civil Engineer Advisory Council and the recently completed, university-wide Ever True capital campaign.

“We at the Lyles School of Civil Engineering at Purdue are absolutely thrilled to learn that Dr. Chris Burke has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering,” said Dr. Rao S. Govindaraju, Bowen Engineering Head of Civil Engineering and Christopher B. and Susan S. Burke Professor of Civil Engineering at Purdue University. “Apart from being a highly impactful engineer, Dr. Burke is a great advisor, mentor and supporter of our program. He is an inspiration to us all, and we are very proud of this well-deserved recognition for him.”

In addition to his support of the engineering field, Dr. Burke is a strong environmental advocate. He serves as chair of the Conservation Foundation and vice-chair of the Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation and is the former chair of the Morton Arboretum.