Barbara Mulkey

Current Position: Founder and Chair at Mulkey Engineers & Consultants
Barbara Mulkey
Highlight I like problem-solving. I also enjoy working in an industry where I get to work alongside intelligent people, most of whom work from a foundation of integrity and a desire to make the world a better, safer place.
November 5, 2016Her job: Director, General Hugh Shelton Leadership Center; Founder & Ret'd. CEO of Mulkey Engineers & Consultants
Describe what you do in your current work situation? Oversee leadership programming for high school and college students as well as young professionals in the workplace. Prior to this, I founded and led a civil engineering consulting firm for 22 years.
Why did you choose engineering? I enjoyed the challenge of problem-solving and loved mathematics.
Where did you go to school and what degree(s) do you have? NC State University, B.S. in Civil Engineering, Masters in Structural Engineering
What kinds of activities have typically been part of your work? Business skills as I ran my business: strategic planning, people management, client management, marketing and business development, using problem-solving skills skills learned in my engineering curriculum applied to arriving at solutions for clients.
What do you like best about being an engineer? I enjoy working with intelligent people and enjoy problem-solving.
Which of your career accomplishments are you proudest of? Starting and growing a civil engineering consulting firm that began at my kitchen table and grew to be a Top 500 engineering firm, nationally.
What challenges have you met and conquered in your pursuit of an engineering career? Time restraints as I blended my career with raising my children.
Please tell us a little about your family. I have a husband of 37 years and two grown children - a son and a daughter. Our son is married and has three children, ages 5, 3 and 9 months.
What are your short-term (1-2 years) and long-term (10+ years) goals? Short term goal is to take the General Hugh Shelton Leadership Center to the next level so that we can impact more students and professionals as we offer values-based leadership learning opportunities. One of the areas we plan to focus on are female students who have entered college in STEM-related disciplines - many enter but don't remain in that discipline. We hope to provide that support and encouragement so that they choose to remain in a STEM field. (STEM is science, technology, engineering & mathematics) 10+ year goals - Remain active as a volunteer with students, education-related organizations, and economic development in under-served areas of NC.
What (or who) had/has the greatest influence on your life choices? My parents were strong influences relative to getting an education. My professors in engineering encouraged me in that field. Most recently, Genera Hugh Shelton has been a mentor is achieving leadership significance as well as leadership success.
What advice would you give to a young woman considering a career in engineering? Go for it! Seek out other women in engineering and ask questions. Remember that engineering is a very diverse field, and while you may not care for one type of engineering, you may love another. One field that has been particularly attractive to young women in recent years is biomedical engineering.
Describe something about your life outside of work: your hobbies, or perhaps a favorite book. I love my pet dog Parker, playing the piano, visiting the coast and getting out in my kayak. Most of all, I love reading all types of books, jigsaw puzzles and word or number puzzles. Lately I have focused my reading on all types of memoirs from the age of World War II, from individuals across the world who were impacted.