SWD’s Kellis Nobles shares thoughts on career, STEM and Black History

Mr. Kellis Nobles, SWD Senior Regional Engineer

Mr. Kellis Nobles, SWD Senior Regional Engineer

Kellis L. Nobles is a Senior Regional Engineer in the Southwestern Division’s Regional Business Technical Office. Although he has only been with the Division since May 2015, he has been a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers employee for 34 years. He has also worked in the Savannah, Europe and Japan Districts. When not working at the Division, Nobles enjoys reading novels, studying military history and custom picture framing.

Q.  Who or what inspired you to choose your career field?

A.  I have always been fixated on building structures and architecture. During High School and for a year after I graduated as well as during summer vacations during college I worked as a construction bricklayer and concrete finisher. A friend, knowing my abilities in math and science, convinced me to enroll at Winston-Salem State University, where I completed my freshman year. The following year I transferred to North Carolina A&T State University and earned my degree in Architectural Engineering.

Q.  What advice would you share with teenagers about choosing a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics related or government service career?

A.  STEM-related careers are very rewarding, but they require hard work. Don’t let the rigorous math and science requirements scare you. They can be difficult— but they can be mastered with dedication and perseverance. Also, resources are available to assist with these subjects when times get hard.

Government service is great! One reason is that you are doing things for the good of our wonderful Nation. Government service can often provide opportunities that are not available through other career paths, to include work diversity, international travel, accelerated growth in job responsibility/management/supervisory, and an elevated sense of service and support to our valued armed forces.

Q.  What has been your most memorable USACE project or program?

A.  My most memorable program with USACE was managing Military Construction associated with the Fort Bragg Medical Facility Construction Program. The program included the construction of the new one million square foot, Fort Bragg Medical Center and three major medical clinics. Over a nine year period working on the Fort Bragg medical center, I witnessed the felling of the first tree on the site and was there when the first baby was delivered in the facility!

Q.  The Black History Month theme this year is “Hallowed Grounds: Sites of African American Memories.” Is there a site or event in Black History that holds a special memory or meaning to you?

A.  The most memorable site to me was when I visited the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn., the site of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Although this was a tragic event for America as a whole, I am proud of how this hallowed ground has been preserved. It can be witnessed not only by those who lived through this tragic event, but more so for youths of all races who may not fully understand the significance of what Dr. King achieved for America and the rest of the world.

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