Melinda Parrish Brumfield was recently promoted to principal at Bennett & Pless Inc.—one of Zweig’s Top 10 Structural Firms to Work for in the US. As Chief Strategy Officer, she is responsible for developing and implementing the firm’s overall marketing strategy and building a network of alliance partners. The first female to achieve this role in the firm’s 50+ year history, Bennett & Pless has thrived under Melinda’s visionary leadership. She was instrumental in three mergers over four years—KingGuinn in Charlotte, Carpenter Wright Engineers in Nashville and Knoxville, and LHC Structural Engineers in Raleigh, effectively growing market presence and capabilities from three offices in the southeast to eight offices throughout Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Florida. Melinda also spearheaded the launch of sister company BPL Enclosure Engineering which offers complementary services, including building enclosure design and commissioning and façade systems. One of the oldest nationally recognized structural engineering firms in the country, Bennett & Pless specializes in the design of mission-critical, industrial, manufacturing, educational, life science, adaptive reuse, healthcare, high-rise commercial buildings, and parking structures.
7×24 Exchange Involvement:
Melinda was a part of the think tank and origination of WIMCO, Women in Mission Critical Operations, as part of the Carolinas and Atlanta chapters, along with trusted friends and partners Robin Aron, Amy Landis, and Jennifer Clark. The effort began with visits to colleges, universities, and K-12 STEM-related programs, and the subsequent realization that there was a significant lack of females in the data center environment, outside of sales. They discovered that many of the female MEP candidates were all choosing a traditional engineering path because they weren’t aware of the market offerings specific to data centers and mission critical work. Along with her partners, Melinda pushed to help these individuals understand the 24/7 mentality and how that can work in a woman’s favor, providing flexibility and a non-traditional engineering-based profession.
Through this work, WIMCO’s objectives were established:
Launching this effort was extremely rewarding as the Carolinas chapter truly catapulted WIMCO nationally. Melinda loves being able to give back as a female leader in the industry, creating pathways and avenues for young professional women to achieve great financial gain as well as solid career paths in the data center environment. She enjoys the professional network WIMCO has afforded her with other female leaders that are inextricably linked to the industry. Melinda is proud of how the organization has evolved to include targeted speakers at the conferences, establishing WIMCO as a group in and of itself. She’s excited to witness this continued growth and evolution.