Burns Announces Promotions of Aviation Leaders Brian Phillips and Kevin Shertz

Burns announces the promotions of Senior Vice President Brian Phillips, P.E. and Vice President Kevin Shertz, P.E.

Burns continues expanding the specialized design and consulting firm’s aviation practice. Burns currently delivers engineering services at more than 100 airports across the United States.

Phillips leads the firm’s aviation unit, guiding design and implementation of passenger experience solutions and operational performance improvements across the airport campus. In recent years, Phillips has overseen the firm’s expansion, consulting airport authorities throughout the delivery of major design, construction and management projects for several of the industry’s largest aviation capital programs.

Shertz has expanded Burns’ aviation special systems team to a leading practice with experts in more than a dozen offices. An electrical engineer by training, Shertz’s subject matter expertise ranges from specialized electrification, security and communications systems to various state-of-the-art airport technologies.


30 November Jerusalem, Israel

Two gunmen shot and killed three people waiting at a bus stop in Jerusalem during the morning commute on November 30. Eight others were wounded during the attack. The attackers were Palestinians and were shot dead by off-duty soldiers and an armed civilian, according to local police. “The terrorists arrived at the scene by car in the morning, armed with an M-16 rifle and a handgun,” police said. “The terrorists began shooting at civilians before subsequently being killed at the scene.” Security camera video footage shows a white car stopping at the bus stop which was packed with people. Two men stepped out with guns already drawn, and opened fire at the crowd. Shortly thereafter the attackers were shot. The Israeli media reported that the victims were a woman in her 20s, a woman in her 60s and a 74-year-old rabbi.


22 November Niagara Falls, New York

A vehicle exploded Wednesday, November 22 at the Niagara Falls International Rainbow Bridge border crossing between the United States and Canada raising concerns of terrorism. The two people in the car died and a border patrol officer was injured. Video from an eyewitness at the scene shows an inspection booth at the bridge with smoke billowing out of the top and debris scattered about. All four bridges between Canada and the United States in the Niagara area were closed, including the Rainbow Bridge, Peace Bridge, Lewiston-Queenston Bridge and Whirlpool Bridge, according to Dominic LeBlanc, Canada’s public safety minister. “This is a rapidly changing situation,” LeBlanc said at a press conference. “All measures are being taken to ensure that people will be safe.” The vehicle was traveling at high speed. It careered about 10 feet into the air, according to an American law enforcement officer. No explosive devices were immediately found in the wreckage, the official said. The FBI’s Buffalo field office said in a social media post on X (formerly Twitter) that the agency was coordinating with local, state and federal law enforcement. Gov. Kathy Hochul of New York said the New York State Police were working with the FBI to monitor all points of entry to the state. Airports and railway facilities in the area increased security. Additional explosive detective dogs and police patrols and additional screening was deployed at Buffalo Niagara International Airport, according to a spokesman with New York Governor Kathy Hochul’s office. The FBI is investigating but some reports now indicate the driver had a stuck accelerator pedal.


21 November, Uttarakhand, India

Forty-one workers were trapped in a collapsed road tunnel in northern India and were there for 17 days. The number of trapped workers was revised up from 40 to 41, according to Anshu Manish, a director at the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited, an agency overseeing the rescue. A new drilling machine was required to be transported to the site to replace a damaged one to help with the extrication. Reports say the exceptionally hard rock formation in the area coupled with the clearing of debris damaged the original machine and paused rescue efforts after several days. All 41 were eventually rescued after 17 days trapped in the tunnel by use of the drilling equipment, a small tunnel that was drilled for the rescue and a rope and pulley system.


3 October Ankara Türkiye

A suicide bomber detonated a bomb after arriving near the entrance of the Ministry of Interior Affairs in Ankara Sunday, October 1. A second person was killed later in a shootout with police, according to Ali Yerlikaya, interior minister. The bombing happened just hours prior to the Turkish Parliament’s opening after summer recess. Two police officers were injured in the attack. The attackers arrived at the scene in a light commercial vehicle, according to Yerlikaya. “Our heroic police officers, through their intuition, resisted the terrorists as soon as they got out of the vehicle,” Yerlikaya said in a press conference.


2 October

An investigation into the crash of a truck that killed five people and injured seven others, is ongoing. The crash occurred Saturday, September 30. The incident caused a toxic chemical leak as the tanker truck was carrying anhydrous ammonia. After the wreck, the tank was drained and moved to a more secure location. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating. The tanker truck spilled its load on a highway east of Teutopolis, Illinois, Effingham County Coroner Kim Rhodes said in a statement Sunday evening. “Preliminary investigation indicates five individuals died from exposure to anhydrous ammonia at the crash site,” according to Rhodes’ statement. Anhydrous ammonia is a clear, colorless gas that is toxic. Effects of inhalation range from nausea to respiratory tract irritation, depending on the length of exposure, according to the Center for Disease Control. About 500 residents living within roughly two square miles of the crash site were initially evacuated, authorities said.


22 November Rockcastle County, Kentucky

A chemical fire caused by a train derailment in Kentucky has been extinguished. People had been encouraged to evacuate but now are able to return to their homes, according to rail operator CSX late last week. “The fire is completely out,” CSX spokesperson Bryan Tucker said in a statement. The train derailed on Wednesday November 23, at about 2:30 p.m. The incident occurred near Livingston, Kentucky. CSX worked to clear the train cars and material at the site. The derailment and spilled chemicals started a chemical fire earlier in the week and prompted evacuations in the small town. State officials said Friday they were monitoring the air for traces of hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide, but so far there had been none detected at the derailment site or the nearby town of Livingston since Thursday morning. The fire was extinguished on Thursday. “We’re now able to get in and begin safely removing cars,” Joe McCann, director of emergency management and hazardous materials for CSX, said at a briefing Friday. He said an access road was built to reach the derailment area and the crashed train cars were removed.


8 September Aberdeen, Scotland

Network Rail was fined £6.7m in the high court in Aberdeen after admitting guilt over a rail crash in which three people died. The driver of the train, Brett McCullough, 45, Donald Dinnie, 58 (the conductor), and a passenger, Christopher Stuchbury, 62, died in the derailment near Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, on August 12 in 2020. It was described as the worst accident on Britain’s railways in 18 years. Debris had washed on to the track from a drainage system after heavy rain. The driver was not warned to reduce speed although the conditions had been reported. Admitting culpability helped reduce the fine from £10m.


26 November The Aegean Sea

A cargo ship sank off the coast of Greece near the island of Lesbos Sunday, November 26. One person was rescued, one body was recovered but twelve crewmembers were still missing according to Greek authorities. The ship was en route from Alexandria, Egypt, to Istanbul with a 6,000-ton load of salt. The ship reported mechanical issues Sunday morning and later sent a distress signal. A group of merchant ships, helicopters and a Greek navy ship were searching for the crew. The dead crewmember was retrieved Sunday afternoon and was taken to Lesbos. The body arrived but has not been identified, a coast guard spokeswoman told The Associated Press.


20 November The Red Sea

Houthi rebels from Yemen seized what they referred to as an Israeli cargo ship in the Red Sea. The group then warned that all vessels connected to Israel “will become a legitimate target for armed forces.” The Houthi rebels released a video showing what they say is the attack and seizure of the vessel. The released video showed masked, armed men exiting a helicopter onto the deck of the ship while it was still moving. The video showed crewmembers with their arms up being threatened at gunpoint. Palestinian and Yemeni flags were raised on board. The authenticity of the video has not been verified. Israel said the vessel, the Galaxy Leader, is a British-owned and Japanese-operated cargo ship and described the incident as an “Iranian act of terrorism” with consequences for international maritime security. Israel’s military said on X (formerly Twitter): “The hijacking of a cargo ship by the Houthis near Yemen in the southern Red Sea is a very grave incident of global consequence.” Houthi forces said they would “continue to carry out military operations against the Israeli enemy until the aggression against Gaza stops and the ugly crimes … against our Palestinian brothers in Gaza and the West Bank stop,” said Yahya Sare’e, a spokesperson for the group in a statement on X (formerly Twitter).