Our Team

John Burnside, P.Eng., MBA

Chairman and CEO

My Role and Responsibilities

My name is John and I serve as CEO of R.J. Burnside & Associates Limited, Director of Neegan Burnside Ltd., and Chairman of the overseeing Board of Directors. I am proud to say I grew up in the company and within the industry in the 1980s and 1990s, serving in a variety of engineering roles and in many geographic locations. After time spent within the management consulting industry, I rejoined the firm as President in 2005, and my vision for the firm has been focused on the growth and creation of a sustainable, values-driven, employee-owned organization where both client and colleague relationships are valued.

It has been an exciting and challenging time in the last few years as we have guided the firm through times of unprecedented change and uncertainty. I am very proud of the strong and resilient culture we have collectively built, and I have seen how we have come together, and even strengthened, during the trying times of the pandemic.

We are guided by the principles espoused by our corporate values and practices that were modelled and personified for the last 50+ years by our founder, Bob Burnside, and so many of our early leaders and staff. These principles articulate the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of our unique culture, how we make decisions, and the way we treat our clients, our communities, and indeed, each other.

Although the industry continues to evolve and innovate, I have seen what matters for professional services companies to thrive. My leadership is best exhibited by my focus on creating and sustaining a meaningful and aligned culture of committed colleagues, all working together to serve clients we care about. I am passionate about open and honest conversations, treating each other with respect and compassion, and not taking ourselves too seriously while never wavering from the privilege and responsibility to serve local clients and communities with integrity and humility. I enjoy leadership development and pursuing the critical ingredients of effective teamwork and cultural alignment with our core values and practices.

My Interests and Hobbies

Since making the decision a few years ago that I am too old to keep playing baseball and basketball in the ways I used to, I have enjoyed shifting my recreational pursuits towards tennis and golf. Just as fun, and far easier on the ankles and knees. I also enjoy reading more every year and biographies, history and modern philosophy are the topics that capture my interest the most. Most importantly, I enjoy the ongoing challenges, along with my wife, of parenting our three Gen Z teenagers and finding times to patiently explain once again that life did, in fact, exist before smart phones and the internet. The enjoyable journey continues…