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

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  • 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.
  • Any other stories or comments you would like to share with EngineerGirl visitors?
    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.
  • 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.

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
  • 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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  • Aliyah, Windemere asked Barbara Mulkey, Mulkey Engineers & Consultants

    Added Wednesday, October 14, 2015 at 12:42 PM

    What is the difference between engineering now and how engineering used to be?
    Related to Engineering Branches
    Answers 1
    Answered Wednesday, October 14, 2015 at 12:42 PM

     This is a loaded question, and I could write an entire book on it! But, I will limit my answer to a few key points:

    1. Technology has been a game changer. Calculations and designs that used to take weeks if not months can now be done in ...
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