Barbara Mulkey
Ms Barbara H Mulkey
Founder and Chair, Mulkey Engineers & Consultants

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Close Up
  • What I Do
    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 Engineering?
    I enjoyed the challenge of problem-solving and loved mathematics.
  • School Days
    NC State University, B.S. in Civil Engineering, Masters in Structural Engineering
  • My Day At 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.
  • Best Part
    I enjoy working with intelligent people and enjoy problem-solving.
  • Proud Moments
    Starting and growing a civil engineering consulting firm that began at my kitchen table and grew to be a Top 500 engineering firm, nationally.
  • Challenges
    Time restraints as I blended my career with raising my children.
  • My 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.
  • Dreams and 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.
  • Inspiration
    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.
  • Want to be an Engineer?
    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.
  • Additional Thoughts
    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.
  • Hobbies
    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.

35 years in the field of civil and structural engineering Founder of Top 500 engineering company, Mulkey Engineers & Consultants Author of "Building Bridges - A Collection of Thoughts About Engineers Connecting at Work, at Home and in Life" available through

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Latest Questions
  • E Taylor asked Barbara Mulkey, Mulkey Engineers & Consultants

    Added Saturday, February 3, 2018 at 5:09 PM

    I have a MS in Structural Engineering, and worked for three years with a private consulting firm in the structural (building) group after graduating. At 37, I'm now considering re-entering the workforce after spending 10 years raising my three children. I feel I'll require some investment in training and technical skills development after this break. My instinct is that a DOT career may be a good fit, as the hours should be regular and I'm hoping for a training program, as I'm considering a ...
    Related to Civil, Engineering Skills, Opportunities/Challenges for Women, Work Environment, Working with People
    Answers 1
    Barbara Mulkey, Mulkey Engineers & Consultants
    Answered Thursday, February 8, 2018 at 9:06 AM

    I actually began my career with DOT and went through their training program before taking a position in Bridge Design. While it was my lowest job offer at the time, it has paid dividends throughout the rest of my career. I got some good training, but ...

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  • Jakelin asked Barbara Mulkey, Mulkey Engineers & Consultants

    Added Saturday, December 10, 2016 at 1:11 AM

    Greeting Barbara, my name is Jakelin and I am currently a second year with my major being civil engineering. I have done research towards this major before actually declaring it and I can say I really think I would enjoy it. I was wondering if you would know of any internships that I can apply for that do not require any experience? I have done some research and I have not found any. I also just want to appreciate you in taking your personal time to answer our questions.
    Related to Civil, Engineering Skills, Internships & Jobs
    Answers 1
    Barbara Mulkey, Mulkey Engineers & Consultants
    Answered Saturday, December 10, 2016 at 1:11 AM


    Thank you for reaching out. 

    It would be difficult for me to recommend specific internships as I don't know where you are located. I agree that it can be a challenge to find internships when you don't have any experience, but ...

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  • Giselle , Burlington asked Barbara Mulkey, Mulkey Engineers & Consultants

    Added Sunday, May 1, 2016 at 12:06 AM

    Hello Barbara, My name is Giselle and you had answered a question for me a few years ago, "Do structural engineers often work internationally? Hello Barbara, I am currently a second year civil engineering student, and I am hoping to choose structural engineering for my third year of studies. I am having my doubts if structural engineering is the right choice for me. I had thought about going into architecture but I thought structural engineering would give me a broader perspective and ...
    Related to Civil, Internships & Jobs
    Answers 1
    Barbara Mulkey, Mulkey Engineers & Consultants
    Answered Sunday, May 1, 2016 at 12:06 AM

    First of all, congratulations on your graduation!

    My suggestion would be that you focus your job search on the construction side if you desire travel. While designs can be done from locations far away from a projects, the construction phase requires ...

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