Emerging Leader

Sunita G. Lavin, P.E.

Burns & McDonnell

For leadership and mentoring that drive excellent results; for motivating and challenging those around her; and for embodying servant leadership within SWE and her community.

Sunita G. Lavin, P.E., attended an engineering summer camp in high school on a whim and got hooked on engineering and technology. She is currently an assistant department manager and project engineer at Burns & McDonnell. Lavin directly manages a team of engineers who execute work for 15 large utility clients nationwide. She also co-leads a global team responsible for a multiyear substation communications and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) modernization program for a large utility client.

Lavin is a leader across industries with a proven track record of driving large global teams on projects across avionics, consumer electronics, information technology, and telecommunications. She excels in wide-ranging roles such as technical resource, project manager, and personnel manager while consistently building high-performing teams focused on positive work cultures. She is a collaborative leader and lifelong learner who prioritizes the development of others.

As a new project engineer, Lavin immediately dove into earning her professional engineer (P.E.) license in Kansas. The consulting business relies on licensure, so attaining the P.E. was essential to career advancement, industry recognition, and legal compliance. During this process, she created three new divisionwide class series for the Fundamentals of Engineering (F.E.) exam, the P.E. exam, and the project management professional certification, which she had also earned. In 2022, more than 500 participants attended the classes she created, with additional people in the study groups.

Lavin considers herself a servant leader and has assumed many leadership roles at all levels of the Society of Women Engineers, including president of the SWE Kansas City (SWE-KC) Section and former co-lead of the SWE Latinos affinity group. She will serve as the awards lead for the Latinos affinity group in FY24. Throughout her service, Lavin strives to motivate others and be inclusive through bilingual (English and Spanish) programming and by engaging underrepresented groups. She also mentors several young professionals.

Lavin has been recognized for her contributions by industry, SWE, and her community. She coached a team member to innovate virtual site visits to keep a project going during the COVID-19 pandemic, which contributed to the project team receiving the Utilities Telecom Council National Impact Award: Service (Team Award) in May 2022. Other honors include the SWE 2019 WE Local Emerging Leader in Technology and Engineering (ELiTE) award, and the Distinguished New Engineer award in 2016. In 2015, the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce presented her with its ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award, and the Central Exchange organization presented her with its STEMMy Rising Trendsetter Award.

Lavin earned a B.S. in computer engineering while in the Jeffrey S. Raikes School of Computer Science and Management honors program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). She then earned an M.S. in electrical engineering and an MBA, also at UNL.

Lavin, her husband Peter, and their two bunnies live in Overland Park, Kansas. She enjoys traveling, running, and playing the violin.