By Chief Mass Communication Specialist (SW) Maria Yager, Navy Personnel Command Public Affairs
MILLINGTON, Tenn. (NNS) -- An officer from Navy Personnel Command was honored by the National Society for Black Engineers (NSBE) during an awards ceremony April 3 in Toronto.
Capt. Willie Metts was named Distinguished Engineer of the Year under NSBE's 2009 Golden Torch Awards.
"I am both excited and humbled by the opportunity to be the recipient of the NSBE Distinguished Engineer of the Year Award," said Metts. "I can only hope that my actions in the future will continue to further the personal and professional development of our youth consistent with NSBE's goals and objectives."
NSBE Golden Torch Awards recognize organizations and individuals who exemplify NSBE's ideals of academic excellence, professional success and dedication to improvement of the black community, according to Erika Howell, a project coordinator for NSBE.
Metts, a Georgia native, said he looks forward to helping NSBE achieve its mission.
"I have not had a long affiliation with NSBE, but am aware of the organization and its broad influence on professional development. As a beneficiary of one of the organization's highest awards, it is my desire to directly contribute to NSBE's mission now and in the future," said Metts.
He studied engineering after graduating high school and was commissioned in 1985.
"I have always had a fascination with science. I chose engineering for both personal and professional benefits," said Metts, whose tours have included USS Thomas C. Hart (FF 1092), USS Thomas S. Gates (CG 51), Naval Post Graduate School, Naval Security Group Potomac, Carrier Strike Group 2, and United States Pacific Command.
Metts, who was recently selected for promotion to Rear Admiral, said mentorship has played a key role in his success. He encourages others in positions of leadership to share their knowledge.
"Mentorship has been absolutely critical to the success that I've enjoyed throughout my academic and military career. Because I have directly benefited from mentoring from superiors, coworkers and teachers, I view service as a mentor as a moral responsibility for all," said Metts.
Metts currently serves as Information and Intelligence Operations Division Director. He is one of only approximately 1,070 information warfare officers in the Navy and is the highest-ranking African American in the specialty. He manages the career development and assignments for approximately 3,600 officers.