Barr Engineering Co. announced that Nick Nelson, a vice president and senior environmental consultant at Barr, has assumed the role of chief operating officer (COO), succeeding Greg Keil, who stepped down from the position following 37 years with the company.

Nelson brings more than 20 years of experience with Barr, as well as relevant external leadership experience, the company said.

“As an employee-owned company with a unique, client-centric culture, Barr will benefit from Nick’s experience and leadership as our new COO,” said President and CEO Ward Swanson.

“Nick deeply understands our company, and his expertise and good judgment will help us remain efficient and effective as we work together to solve our clients’ complex challenges and advance their goals.”

At Barr, Nelson has worked across all business units and held a range of leadership roles, while also serving as a trusted advisor to numerous clients. He has been a member of Barr’s board of directors, serving on board committees for business strategy, enterprise risk management, real estate, and future-workplace strategy, and is stepping down from the board as he becomes COO.

Nelson holds a B.S. in chemical engineering from Notre Dame and a J.D. from William Mitchell College of Law. His external leadership roles include serving on the board of directors for SharePoint Credit Union and for Summit Dental.

Greg Keil, who has been working with Nelson since August 2022 to support a seamless leadership transition, plans to remain with Barr, working on client projects as well as serving as a member of the board of directors.

“Greg’s impact on Barr over the decades has been immeasurable,” said Ward Swanson. “He has been a tireless steward of our success during a long chapter of growth for Barr, and he leaves the COO position with a powerful legacy of good governance, strong financial management, and systems and processes that are fine-tuned to support our company’s success.

“I can’t thank Greg enough for his leadership, and I’m looking forward to working with Nick in his new role,” said Ward. “I’m confident that Barr’s staff and clients will continue to benefit from leadership excellence in Barr’s COO position.”