1999 Distinguished Service Award: Julian Barrientos

// Civil & Environmental Engineering

Tags: alumni, CEE E-Day, Engineers' Day, Julian Barrientos

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Julian Barrientos
President and CEO (retired)
Barrientos & Associates, Inc.

Julian Barrientos set an important goal as a 14-year-old in Bolivia. He watched 30 Indians and their families work for weeks to build a dam only to see their hopes wash away. Without water for crops, the community would starve. That event convinced Barrientos to study engineering.

He overcame educational and language barriers and a business failure, and today he is not only a professional civil engineer, but recently completed 30 years as president and CEO of Barrientos & Associates, Inc. (BAI), an engineering and architectural consulting firm with offices in five states.

Barrientos has returned to structural engineering. His son Norman is now president and CEO of the company. The Barrientos firm has built more than 650 Wisconsin bridges. Other BAI projects have included work at Miller Park, Milwaukee; the Kohl Center, Madison; O’Hare International Airport; and tunnel and overpass work in Boston.

Of all his accomplishments, none returns as much satisfaction as his role as mentor to young engineers. Barrientos has given hundreds their start in successful engineering careers.

Barrientos contributions to the community include co-founding Centro Hispano of Dane County, a nonprofit social-service agency. In recent years he has expanded his motivational speaking engagements by talking about his ex-periences and choices to members of a variety of professional and cultural organizations.

He is a member of the American Society of Consulting Engineers, the National Society of Professional Engineers, and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.

Barrientos received a BS in civil engineering from Universidad Technica, Oruro, Bolivia; and an MS in civil engineering from UW-Madison. He and his wife, Betty, founder of the Ballet Folklorico Tiawanaku in Madison, have two sons, Rolando and Norman, and two daughters, Lola and Rosemary. Barrientos enjoys reading, exercising and soccer.