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Employee Spotlight: Eric Walters

February 1, 2024
Headshot of Eric Walters

Black History Month is observed every February to recognize the history and achievements of African Americans and their central role in our nation’s history. As we celebrate this year, we’d like to highlight the vital contributions of African Americans at NOAA. 

We talked with Eric Walters from NOAA’s Office of Space Weather Observations, to learn more about him.

 

 

Where did you grow up? 

I was born in Washington D.C. However, I grew up in Capitol Heights, Maryland with my parents and two older brothers, making me the youngest of three.

 

What is your role at NESDIS? 

Here at NESDIS I am the Actions Lead Officer within the Office of Space Weather Observations, and I also support education and outreach where we host and participate in numerous STEM opportunities and events to raise awareness of NOAA and its mission. 

 

What led you to pursue a career in government service? 

The doors kind of opened up for me on their own. I spent the early years of my career in higher education as an academic advisor, and was shortly promoted to be a project coordinator. From there, my talents were recognized by the Department of Defense, where I accepted a program analyst position working for Defense Acquisition University. From there, NOAA found me, and the rest is history.

 

What does Black History Month mean to you? 

Each year Black History Month means more and more to me. Black History month is for education and appreciation. To me, Black History Month means it is time to celebrate and educate yourself and others on the many contributions African Americans have made to society to improve our everyday lives.

 

What has your experience as an African American been like at NOAA? 

My experience working for NOAA as an African American has been refreshing! My colleagues here at NOAA make me feel comfortable in my own skin. Everyone I have come in contact with here at NOAA has always treated me with the utmost respect. My leadership and colleagues pride themselves on making the work environment a pleasant one for any race and I can truly say with confidence they have succeeded with flying colors! 

 

What would you say are your proudest accomplishments during your time at NOAA?

I have two accomplishments that I am truly proud of. My first is stepping into the Actions Lead Officer role after only being here at NOAA for just under a year at that time. My leadership team and colleagues displayed their trust and faith in me, giving me all the confidence I needed to be successful. I am proud to say, nine months later, things are going wonderfully! 

My second accomplishment was helping coordinate NOAA’s first-ever solar eclipse viewing event in October 2023. This was an historic moment for NOAA, as we have never held an event like this before. This tri-agency event was held in two locations: Albuquerque, New Mexico and Boulder Colorado. We reached a record number of people through education and outreach, and we're excited for our next total solar eclipse event on April 8th in Dallas, Texas.

 

What motivates you? Who has served as an inspiration/role model in your life?

My family is my biggest motivation. I want to be an example for my three sons and show them that hard work, integrity, and dedication can take you to mountain tops that you never thought you could see. 

My dad is my biggest inspiration and role model. He has always been in my corner and has always believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself. He is everything I want to be, and for as long as I can remember, making him proud was something that truly makes me happy.

 

What kind of advice would you give people aspiring to pursue a career at NOAA or in your field?

The space weather field is constantly growing, and NOAA is making huge strides and accomplishments in that field.

My advice to anyone pursuing a career here at NOAA is to make sure your skills are well-rounded. You never know what doors may open for you here at NOAA, and don’t limit yourself to one role. The more you can do, the more valuable you are.

 

What do you like to do in your spare time? Tell us something about yourself others may not know.  

I am a family man. In my spare time I enjoy doing family activities with my wife and kids. Being around them, acting silly, and creating memories is something I am super passionate about. 

I also coach youth and high school football in my community. I love giving back, especially to the youth, and I believe I am not just a coach but also a mentor. I love sharing stories and giving advice that can help the younger generation be the best they can be. Giving back is rewarding for me, and knowing that I can help someone not make the same mistakes I did is very satisfying for me.

 

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