Barbara Rusinko: A Career Solving Problems in Engineering
Rusinko was elected to the 2018 class of the National Academy of Engineering in February 2018. Barbara is the first female Bechtel employee to receive the honor and the 17th in the company’s 120-year history.
Rusinko is a registered professional engineer and Six Sigma champion with a master’s degree in engineering from The University of Alabama – Huntsville and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of South Carolina. She serves on the corporate partnership council of the Society of Women Engineers. Rusinko was elected a Bechtel principal vice president in 2009 and a senior vice president in 2012. She was honored as The #3 Most Powerful Female Engineers in 2017.
A Career Solving Problems
Engineering is in Barbara Rusinko’s blood. Her father, now 93 years old, was a Bechtel engineer and she’s been with the global engineering, construction, and project management company since starting as a summer intern in 1985.
Thirty-three years later, Rusinko has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, among the highest honors for an engineer.
She is now president of Bechtel’s Nuclear, Security & Environmental global business unit, with responsibility for more than 5,000 employees at more than a dozen project sites in the U.S., UK, Australia, and other locations including complex, first-of-a-kind megaprojects, such as:
- The most complex liquid radioactive waste treatment facility in the world
- A processing facility for highly enriched uranium used for nuclear defense and in fuel for Navy submarines and aircraft carriers
- Construction of the only remaining expansion of a nuclear power plant in the United States, a plant in the state of Georgia.
She also serves on the governing boards of two U.S. national laboratories.
Inspiring future engineers
For the past two years Barbara has served as featured speaker for the Future City finals competition in Washington, DC.
Her engineering skills have influenced design and construction of multi-billion dollar megaprojects on several continents. But she says the designs that solve the world’s most complex problems are born in the skills children learn as early as middle school. These are critical thinking skills including problem solving and the math, science, engineering and chemistry behind what makes things strong, what makes them break, and what makes them give.
“It’s about the teamwork”
For Rusinko, engineering is never a solo sport.
“It’s almost always a team,” she told hundreds of young people at the 2017 Future Cities finals. “And it’s not just about the math and science. It’s about the teamwork. The presentation skills. The other skills you’re learning as you’re working with your teachers, your mentors, and your teammates.”
Bechtel employees elected to NAE
2018: Ms. Barbara Estelle Rusinko
2009: Dr. Amos A. Avidan
2007: Mr. Adrian Zaccaria
1994: Dr. John J. Cassidy
1992: Mr. John Neerhourt
1993: Dr. William L. Friend
1989: Dr. Robert G. Bea
1989: Dr. Harold K. Forsen
1987: Dr. Lawrence T. Papay
1986: Mr. Alden P. Yates
1981: Mr. Vivian F. Estcourt
1980: Mr. Edgar J. Garbarini
1978: Mr. Rex A. Elder
1976: Mr. Milton Levenson
1975: Mr. Stephen D. Bechtel Jr
1970: The Honorable W. Kenneth Davis
1967: Mr. John R. Kiely, Bechtel Power Corporation