Marjorie Franklin, Prairie Village, Kan., is co-owner and principal engineering of Franklin Associates. Franklin is the first woman to enroll in and graduate with a degree in aerospace engineering from KU. The Russell, Kan., native earned her degree in 1956 at a time when women were discouraged from entering traditionally male fields such as engineering.
After raising a family, Franklin applied her extensive engineering skills to the field of municipal solid waste, for which she is internationally known. For more than 20 years she has had management responsibility for development of the material flows methodology for characterizing waste for reports published annually by the Environmental Protection Agency. Her clients have included the EPA, local and state agencies and private clients.
In 1983, Franklin became president of Franklin Associates. As the nation dipped in recession, she was able to guide Franklin Associates through some difficult financial times. Her leadership kept the young company in business and expanded the business base of the organization. While she was president of Franklin Associates, she became active in the Solid Waste Processing Division of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and became the first woman to chair that division. She is active in a number of other professional and regional organizations, as well.
Her influence within Franklin Associates, where she is now co-owner and principal engineer, increased opportunities for female engineers. For years there have been more female than male engineers at the firm.
Franklin continues to have a positive influence at KU, where she is a strong contributor of her time, wisdom and financial support. Franklin has been an active member of the School of Engineering Advisory Board for more than 17 years. She was the first female member of the board and the first, and, to date, only woman to chair the board. Franklin’s numerous KU activities also include the school’s Diversity Programs Advisory Board.