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Head of NOAA’s Office of Civil Rights honored at Black Engineer of the Year Awards

February 25, 2021

Kenneth M. Bailey, Director of NOAA’s Office of Inclusion and Civil Rights, was recognized at the annual Black Engineer of the Year Awardsoffsite link (BEYA) STEM Conference, which was held virtually from February 11-13, 2021. Bailey received the Dave Barclay Affirmative Action in Government Awardoffsite link.

Kenneth M. Bailey is the Director of the Office of Inclusion and Civil Rights, which is part of NOAA’s Civil Rights Office. He received the Dave Barclay Affirmative Action in Government Award at the 2021 Black Engineer of the Year Awards. The quote reads, "NOAA has the best mission ... and I love doing my job here with my team and colleagues."

This year marks the 35th annual BEYA STEM Conference and its celebration of outstanding contributions to STEM fields across the public, private, and academic sectors. BEYA brings together professionals and students to share their experiences, network, and explore STEM career paths.

"Kenny Bailey has done so much to move NOAA forward and to make us a more diverse and inclusive workplace,” said Louisa Koch, Director of NOAA Education. “It's rewarding to see people like Kenny recognized for the important work they do."

The Dave Barclay Affirmative Action in Government award recognizes Bailey for his work in hiring and retaining minorities in government and his leadership of diversity initiatives. Bailey’s federal career focusing on civil rights and diversity began in 2006 after his retirement from military service. Prior to joining NOAA in 2016, he worked with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. He is a leading practitioner in the areas of Equal Employment Opportunity complaints, strategic recruitment, Affirmative Employment Program, disability, anti-harassment, special emphasis, mentoring, and outreach programs. Learn more about Bailey and his career path to NOAA below.


Kenneth M. Bailey 
Recipient of the Dave Barclay Affirmative Action in Government Award

Official portrait of Kenneth Bailey, Director of the Office of Inclusion and Civil Rights
Kenneth M. Bailey is the Director of the Office of Inclusion and Civil Rights, which is part of NOAA’s Civil Rights Office. He received the Dave Barclay Affirmative Action in Government Award at the 2021 Black Engineer of the Year Awards. (Courtesy of Kenneth Bailey, Office of Inclusion and Civil Rights)

How did you become interested in promoting diversity and inclusion within the federal workforce?

I’ve been interested in civil rights and diversity since I was a kid. I became a diversity practitioner in the military and it led to my federal career.

How did your past experiences in the military impact your leadership style in NOAA’s Office of Inclusion and Civil Rights?

The military shaped who I am as a leader. It enabled me to lead diverse and multicultural teams and challenge them beyond their expected capabilities.

What’s the best part about working at NOAA?

NOAA has the best mission of all federal agencies, and I love doing my job here with my team and colleagues.

What’s the most valuable piece of advice that you were given when beginning your career?

“Be All That You Can Be.” It was once the Army theme and for me symbolized being the best that you can be. I work hard at distinguishing myself amongst my peers and to ensure the agency I work in is also positively distinct compared to other federal agencies.

What accomplishment are you most proud of since working at NOAA?

Building a great team that is becoming recognized for excellence, helping to shift the agency’s culture, and contributing greatly to the operational mission of NOAA.


Read Kenneth Bailey’s full biography.