Matthew J. Mulherin
B.S., Civil Engineering, 1981
When Mulherin applied to Virginia Tech, he was drawn to its size as a big school and the social and educational opportunities it presented. While there, he studied civil engineering because he felt it would lead him to work in projects that were “big, bold, and larger than myself,” he said.
From his time at the university, he remembers “an education based upon solid engineering fundamentals, coupled with the commitment to service” that helped him endure the challenges of a nuclear shipbuilding career, Mulherin said. He cited the overall sense of community, camaraderie, and belonging as his favorite memory of Virginia Tech.
Upon graduating, Mulherin spent the entirety of his career at Newport News Shipbuilding, starting as a test engineer in 1981 and going on to take multiple leadership roles at the company. There, he worked on the design of the CVN78 Ford Class Nuclear Aircraft Carrier, which at the time was the first U.S. Navy aircraft carrier design undertaken in over 50 years. He led the project from concept to design, through to its $8 billion construction and eventual delivery to the U.S. Navy.
Mulherin served as the company’s president from 2011 until he retired in 2017, leading Newport News Shipbuilding in building the most complex ships in the world: nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and submarines. Mulherin also served as a member of the Virginia Nuclear Energy Consortium Authority.