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Company veterans begin top leadership roles at McFarland Johnson in Binghamton

By Eric Reinhardt


BINGHAMTON — Two long-time employees who have worked closely for nearly 20 years have assumed top leadership roles at Binghamton–based McFarland Johnson, Inc. (MJ). 

The planning, design, and construction-services firm announced it has named James Festa CEO and Chad Nixon president and chairman of the company’s board of directors.

Festa is replacing Richard Brauer in the CEO role. Brauer resigned after 13 years with the firm “in pursuit of new endeavors,” Ruthanne Bulman, human resources director at McFarland Johnson, tells CNYBJ in an email.

Nixon is assuming the duties that Brauer previously had as the company president along with duties that the now-retired David Lee had as board chairman, according to Bulman.

Both Festa and Nixon bring business, engineering, and finance experience to their respective roles, the company said.

Both have served as leaders of MJ’s operations and business-development functions for the last decade. 

Festa has served as MJ’s COO since 2008, focusing on internal operations and office management at the firm. Nixon has served as the business-development officer, expanding MJ’s geographic reach and leading the firm’s “innovation initiative” on the national level. 

“This is an exciting time for MJ’s employee owners,” Bulman says. “With Jim’s strong command of our business and operations, his focus will remain internal, delivering value to our employee owners. Chad’s strengths and energy lend him to focus mostly externally, forging strong client relationships while developing and leading MJ’s strategic growth and innovation initiative.”

About the firm

McFarland Johnson is an employee-owned planning, design, and construction-services firm. 

The company was founded in Binghamton in 1946 by engineer William McFarland, who was later joined by another engineer, John Johnson. 

For more than 70 years, MJ has grown its services and expanded geographically throughout the Mid-Atlantic, New England, and the Southeast with more than 15 offices serving public and private clients. 

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