WILKES-BARRE — Just weeks before his company made two major acquisitions, Michael Burke, president/CEO of AECOM Technology Corp. in Los Angeles, was back home in West Pittston eating ice cream with his kids at Blue Ribbon Dairy.
Perhaps nothing more prepares you for battle in the global corporate world than a good dose of hometown.
Burke, 51, is a 1981 graduate of Wyoming Area High School, and a 1985 University of Scranton, who went on to law school at Southwestern University.
Five months ago he became chief executive of AECOM, a Fortune 500 company headquartered in Los Angeles that defines itself as a leading provider of professional technical and management support services for public and private clients around the world.
With AECOM’s recent acquisitions — of rival URS Corp. in a stock-and-cash deal worth $4 billion, and Hunt Construction Group, a construction-management company that specializes in stadium work — Burke leads a com of 95,000 employees in 150 countries worldwide with annual revenue of about $20 billion.
Burke maintains his Luzerne County roots provided him with the strong work ethic necessary to succeed in the world of big business.
“One thing you learn about growing up in Wyoming Valley is that its work ethic and integrity come through,” Burke said. “You learn that a man’s word is his bond. That’s not always the case in other parts of the world.”
Burke said life brings many surprises, but he was well prepared for any twists and turns because of the way he was raised. He said there is always a component of luck involved with life’s successes, but he said hard work, which was instilled in him growing up, is the main reason for his many accomplishments.
“Of course I never dreamed of being where I am today,” Burke said. “My mom, Theresa Insalaco Burke, and other relatives helped me along the way. I guess you can say I’m a product of the environment I grew up in, just like everybody else.”
Burke also played a round of golf at Fox Hill Country Club in Exeter with his father-in-law, Dr. Joseph Bruno. Burke is married to the former Joan Bruno and they have two daughters, Alexandra and Olivia.
Burke said his firm now has the ability to design and build, and AECOM is close to becoming a Fortune 100 company.
Burke said Hunt is the largest builder of sports stadiums in the world, having built about two-thirds of all major sports stadiums and arenas in the United States.
“It’s been a fast-paced four months,” Burke said. “We’re absolutely off to a real fast running start.”
According to its website, www.aecom.com., AECOM is a global provider of professional technical and management support services to a broad range of markets, including transportation, facilities, environmental, energy, water and government.