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Younger Member Spotlight: Nalah’s Inspiring Journey from Engineer to Entrepreneur


Younger Member Spotlight: Nalah’s Inspiring Journey from Engineer to Entrepreneur

June 2024

By the Texas Section Younger Member Group

In the competitive world of civil engineering, young professionals are increasingly stepping out of traditional career paths to forge their own unique journeys. One such trailblazer is fellow Texas Section Younger Member, Nalah Williams. Nalah is the founder of Golden Mane Consulting, a Dallas-based company that merges civil engineering expertise with innovative land development solutions. At just 26, this entrepreneur left a stable job in civil engineering to start her own business, driven by a desire for growth and a passion for design. Recently honored by ASCE as one of the 2024 New Faces of Civil Engineering, Nalah gives the Texas Section a glimpse of her journey as a civil engineer turned entrepreneur.

What led you to leave your civil engineering job and start your own company at such a young age?

“I was dissatisfied with the repetitive nature of my land development job, and I wasn’t receiving the opportunity to grow and learn new things. Since I had already started my own property management business a few years earlier, I thought, why not? I have been designing houses for family and friends since high school, and I knew I could do this professionally as well. Merging my civil and land development knowledge was such a bonus.”

Since beginning Golden Mane Consulting, what important lessons have you learned?

“It requires a lot of self-discipline to run your own company. If you don’t accomplish your tasks and goals, there is no one else who will. I also learned you don’t have to do everything on your own just because you are an entrepreneur. Good people love to help, and you have to be willing to put yourself out there to ask for it when needed.”

Being young and managing a business must be challenging. How do you balance doing the engineering work with handling the day-to-day of life?

“It is very hard, but I try my best to keep my priorities in line. For me, my faith and spirituality are my number one priority, so I make sure to handle that part of my life and everything else follows suit. To keep track of it requires a lot of to-do lists and calendars (LOL). But discipline is very important.”

If you were giving advice to a young engineer or someone looking to start their own business, what would you tell them?

“Just go for it. Failure is so subjective. You don’t really fail, you just pivot. If you start your business and it doesn’t work out, you either adjust or find something else. There is no failure; therefore, there is nothing to lose. Find your passion and pursue it. There are so many options out there now for everyone to make money pursuing their dreams, so just give it a try. You can always come back.”

You believe in giving everyone a chance, regardless of their background. How do you think your experiences can inspire other minorities and women to pursue careers in engineering?

“I believe in everyone having the opportunity to thrive. It is so important for young students and people to see others who look like them doing things they never knew about. That’s what I hope my experiences will do for others. I want civil engineering to be more visible, but also the opportunities to be bold and brave in pursuit of what you love. There truly is no limit to what you can do when you work hard and make an effort to be a helpful person. That’s what I think my experiences will inspire.”

Nalah Williams’ journey from a traditional civil engineering job to becoming an entrepreneur and founder of a consulting firm is inspiring. Her story is a powerful reminder that with faith, determination, and a willingness to seek help when needed, anything is possible. Her advice to aspiring entrepreneurs and engineers is to embrace their passions, take risks, and redefine what failure means. Through her work, she continues to break barriers and serve as a role model for minorities and women in engineering. To read more about Nalah and her ASCE honor, click here.

Pictured: Katherine Smith (Austin), Nalah Williams (Dallas), Clint Smith (Austin), Farrah Rawashdeh (Houston), Hope Newton (Austin), Matthew Gaal (Austin).