The Nine 2023: Katie Murphy Khulusi

Katie Murphy Khulusi, The Nine 2023
(Image credit: Future)

Title: Engineering Director, Acoustical and Mechanical

Company: Meyer Sound

Location: Berkeley, CA

Overtime: What doesn’t she do in her free time? Along with snowboarding and backpacking the Sierras with her dad, she is the neighborhood coordinator for the Berkeley Food Pantry, makes candles, and moonlights as a bar trivia host.

Why You Need to Know Her: You would think that being the driving force behind Meyer Sound’s PANTHER loudspeaker system would top the list, but that is just part of Katie Murphy Khulusi’s story. She’s not just part of the youth revolution in Pro AV, she is likely your strongest ally and advocate, using “every platform that is available to me to do that.”

Sometimes a person is destined for a profession. Call it fate or happenstance, but that seems to be exactly the case for Murphy Khulusi. Music was her passion since her youth, and the former oboe player had dreams of being a studio lot musician and working on film scores. As she got older, she decided she was much better at math and went to the University of Southern California for electrical engineering.

It was there, while minoring in music recording, that she became an audio assistant. “And somewhere in there it was kind of like, ‘Okay, there is a general path for electrical engineering that has music in it; this whole technical side of the music industry,’” Murphy Khulusi explained. Luckily for her, she was trained on a Meyer Sound system. Even more fortunate was that the stars aligned when it came time for the job hunt: Meyer Sound was looking for an acoustic test engineer.

Destiny called and Murphy Khulusi obliged, beginning her rise in Meyer Sound until she landed in her current role in February 2022. When asked about her crowning achievement, it was a quick answer: The launch of PANTHER. Facing the duress of pandemic challenges (supply chains, for example), Murphy Khulusi had to execute with little wiggle room. The product launch was Ed Sheeran’s +–=÷x Tour, and the show would go on, PANTHER or not.

Fortunately, it wasn’t only a successful launch, but one of Meyer Sound’s most successful line arrays to date. "I was one of the designers acoustically for it,” she explained. “I made the new horn for it. So that was the first time that I was able to not only say, ‘I designed this major part of it, but I was also the project manager.’ I was the product owner. My whole self was completely tied to that project.”

However, success and glory are not what drives Murphy Khulusi. Being young, female, and now a leader in the industry, she is passionate about the future and making it a better place to work for everyone. “I am a very outwardly presenting, bubbly young female,” she said. “Overall, women in engineering and in Pro AV—there's only a handful, especially as you start to get more towards the top.

“I am not afraid to say what I think. I will take every opportunity that is given to me to talk about how I'm proud of myself and my company, but also to talk about what I see going on in the industry and how kind of this new, younger generation that's now starting to come into these senior management roles can help propel it into the future.”

However, you simply can’t overlook the success Murphy Khulusi has already achieved at such a young age. And then you remember, it all started with a dream.

That is exactly the wisdom she hopes the next generation of AV professionals understands. “Find the line between understanding the way that the current industry works and dreaming about where it could be,” she said. “Sometimes that is not going to be a straight line. It's going to oscillate back and forth, and not everything is always going to go the way that you want it to. And it's really important to keep your composure because at some point through your work, you're going to get an opportunity or you're going to find a way to be able to push the line a little bit more into dreaming about where we can be.”

Meet the rest of The Nine.

Wayne Cavadi
Senior Content Manager

Wayne Cavadi is the senior content manager of Systems Contractor News. Prior to taking a leap into the Pro AV industry, Wayne was a journalist and content lead for Turner Sports, covering the NCAA, PGA, and Major and Minor League Baseball. His work has been featured in a variety of national publications including Bleacher Report, Lindy's Magazine, and The Advocate. When not writing, he hosts the DII Nation Podcast, committed to furthering the stories and careers of NCAA Division II student-athletes. Follow his work on Twitter at @WayneCavadi_2 or the SCN mag Twitter page.