He is the first African American engineer, in the history of the organization, to hold any national engineering position.
“This appointment promotes and supports a future workforce that reflects the diverse clientele that the federal government serves,” Gillespie said.
With this appointment, Gillespie will become a national discipline lead within the conservation division and will provide national leadership in the development of policies, and technical guidance, for water management engineering with a focus on agriculture.
“This opportunity expands the technical expertise of the USDA to include the legacy of academic and research excellence of N.C. A&T,” Gillespie said. “I am who I am, and where I am, because of the investment the faculty made in me.”
While at A&T, Gillespie worked closely with Godfrey Gayle, Ph.D., on soil and water conservation engineering projects in the classroom and at the University Farm, including designs for irrigation and drainage.
“I was not too surprised to find out that Alan had been selected for this position,” said Gayle, a professor in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Design. “He had it in him from the early stages, because of his work ethic.”
Gillespie’s new responsibilities include establishing and promoting partnerships with universities and private companies, and so the two may work together in the future, Gayle said.
Prior to this appointment, Gillespie served as the state conservation engineer for Rhode Island.