Military veteran completes doctorate to head Logistics Support Services at Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
William B. Smith’s extensive military and academic credentials have helped lead him to his current role as chief of Logistics Support Services at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
“I began my collegiate career in 1970 at Savannah State University in Savannah, Georgia,” William says. “After two years of majoring in mathematics at Savannah State, I left college to join the Air Force with the intent of becoming an officer.”
William was accepted into the Air Force’s Aviation Management program at Auburn University, where he graduated from in 1976.
“As promised, the Air Force sent me directly to Officer Training School and commissioned me a second lieutenant in July 1976,” he says. “The Air Force then assigned me to Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico, where I earned a master’s in Human Resources Management from Pepperdine University during my off-duty hours.”
Other highlights of William’s military career include holding various assignments in Georgia, Hawaii, South Carolina, Washington, D.C., and Florida and overseas in the Sultanate of Oman and in Eritrea. His final assignment allowed him to return to Washington D.C. with the Army’s Military Traffic Management Command, and it was during this time that William decided to retire and update his education before entering the civilian workforce.
He completed his master’s degree in Procurement and Acquisition Management from Webster University at the Bolling Air Force Base campus and retired from the Air Force in February 2000, after nearly 28 years of service as a lieutenant colonel. Following retirement, he became a systems analyst with BAE Systems and later a civil service logistics management specialist for the U.S. Navy.
“In December of 2005, I realized that I had only five years left to use my military G.I. Bill benefits, so I enrolled in the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) program at Argosy University, Washington D.C. and began classes in January 2006.”
William earned his DBA in 2010, which he says strengthened his educational credentials and helped in his promotion to his current position at FEMA.
“My Argosy education has provided me with validation that I am a peer among professionals,” he says. “My co-workers and supervisors at work seem to have a new respect for me and that is very flattering.”
William says the Argosy University staff and faculty have had a lasting impact on him. “One of the great things about doctoral-level classes is that you get to do most of the work yourself and express your opinions in class,” he says. “The instructors were very good in guiding us through this process and stimulated us to interact.”
William plans to teach college business courses after he retires from the federal government.