With over 30 years of engineering and management experience, McGrath most recently served for two years as the Southeast Regional Manager for a New York-based consulting firm. Prior to that, she had a 30-year career with the Mississippi Department of Transportation that included history-making roles as the first woman to hold the position of Chief Engineer and, later, Executive Director. As Executive Director — a position she held for nearly 10 years before retiring from MDOT in 2021 — McGrath oversaw 3,400 employees and managed a $1.2 billion annual budget.
“I am very grateful for the opportunity to join the Neel-Schaffer team,” McGrath said. “I look forward to working together with the staff and clients and teaming partners to provide innovative, effective, and efficient solutions to meet or exceed the transportation needs for all users.”
McGrath takes over for Robert Walker, P.E., who was recently named Chief Operating Officer and was instrumental in the search for his replacement.
“We are extremely excited that Melinda is joining our team to lead our Central Region,” Walker said. “Melinda’s exceptional leadership ability and her talent for digging in and solving complex problems enable her to drive innovative solutions, build strong teams, and execute critical initiatives that deliver results. Those skills make her the perfect person to lead our Central Region.”
McGrath is a Registered Professional Engineer in Mississippi and holds a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from Mississippi State University. She has served on the Dean’s Advisory Council for the Mississippi State Bagley College of Engineering and in 2013 was named a Distinguished Fellow by the Bagley College of Engineering.
Additionally, she has served on the Board of Directors of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and was on the Executive Committee of the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.