Top 40 Under 40: Derrick Bachtel

Derrick Bachtel, PE, grew up on a farm outside a small rural town of 400 people. At 15, an unexpected trip to Hawaii and first flight opened his eyes to a much larger world. Always an inquisitive personality, this freedom of flight experience was a defining moment for him and he’s had the aviation bug ever since.

Bachtel joined Burns & McDonnell’s employee-owner team in 1998 as an assistant electrical engineer in the Fueling & Ramp Services Group within the Aviation Practice. Today, as chief electrical engineer, he is responsible for overseeing the electrical, instrumentation and controls associated with more than $100 million construction per year worldwide. Experienced in aviation design and construction, he has been a driving force in developing new, innovative technologies for commercial and military fueling facilities, including the adaptation of variable frequency drive motors for fuel pumping systems, cutting-edge communications technologies for fuel storage tank monitoring and emergency fuel shutoff systems for airport hydrant fueling.

Bachtel has experienced the aviation industry through service to airport authorities, sponsor cities, major commercial airlines, cargo airlines and the U. S. military. He has provided facility improvement master plan studies, design-bid-build and design-build services. Some of Bachtel’s past work includes greenfield fueling receipt and storage facility projects; power and controls system retrofits; passenger boarding bridge (PBB) power and point-of-use 400-Hz ground power units; Type I and Type IV glycol receipt, storage and blending facilities; and spent aircraft deicing fluid collection and analysis.

He is currently leading automatic tank gauging replacement projects at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport and Kansas City International Airport; capital improvement projects at Honolulu International Airport’s operating storage and off-site storage facilities; and an emergency fuel shutoff system installation at Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

Bachtel is a licensed professional engineer in Missouri and California. “The people who talk loudest aren’t the only ones with opinions. I would recommend a new person listen to the varied expectations of all project stakeholders, consult senior members of their team and to continue to ask questions if the collaborative solution doesn’t feel right.”

DERRICK BACHTEL, PE, Burns & Mcdonnell