Brian Knight was recently named White Sands Missile Range’s Environmental Division Chief. Knight has been working in the environmental field for over 20 years. We asked Knight a series of questions to introduce him to the WSMR community.
Where are you from and where is home for you?
I live in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and I’ve lived there for a very long time. I’m originally from southern Illinois but I’ve spent more time in Las Cruces than in Illinois.
Who are your family members?
My wife’s name is Kristen Knight, she’s a counselor at Sierra Middle School in Las Cruces. I have a 14-year-old daughter, Morgan, who’s getting ready to start Las Cruces High School next year and a 10-year-old son, McLean. We also have two Boston Terriers.
When you were younger what did you aspire to be?
From a very young age I’ve aspired to be an archaeologist. I obtained a degree in anthropology and a master’s degree in anthropology with an emphasis on southwest archaeology from New Mexico State University.
During my time in school I started working at WSMR and I worked here for almost seven years. I received another position working at Fort Bliss, Texas, as a contracted senior archaeologist and I moved up there.
What led you to work in a military installation?
I had done contract work all of my life and the Army is a major employer of environmental contractors. Whenever there was an opening I, of course, jumped on the opportunity. Aside from working at Fort Bliss and WSMR, I also did some field work at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.
Do you have any stories you would like to share from your experiences working in a military installation?
One of the exciting things about doing environmental resource management is that there’s this perspective that the Army is damaging but in reality we have some of the best resources. We tend to protect our resources even better, because of our limited access.
It’s interesting to see these things that are so intact, they’re well protected. In general I feel the Army does a very good job of preserving their resources.
What have you learned from previous leadership roles?
I’ve learned how to manage people, especially from a military perspective. I keep focus on what the mission is and I set values and goals to achieve the mission.
I focus on the most important things you need to do to stay in compliance but also work to maximize the Army’s training capabilities, you must realize that is your most important goal.
Is there anyone who helped guide you to where you are today?
I received a lot of mentorship and really learned a lot from this job from Vicki Hamilton, Environmental Division Chief at Fort Bliss, Texas. She taught me to balance it all and be able to focus, prioritize and hone in on what’s most important.
What do you and your family like to do for fun?
We love being outdoors so we really like camping, fishing, hiking, backpacking, those type of activities. We just recently bought a travel trailer and I love taking them to national parks and national landmarks.
What do you like to do for fun?
I like hunting, backpacking and I am a home brewer. I’ve done home brewing for 20 years. I brew all different kinds of beers, Indian Pale Ales are my favorite.
How do you feel about coming to WSMR?
I’m very excited about it. I think the unique mission is very exciting. In a lot of ways I started a career here and I feel like I’m coming back home. Both of my kids were born in New Mexico and I’m New Mexican so I’m happy to be back here.
What do you hope to accomplish while you’re here?
I want to do whatever is required to support the mission. I want to improve our efforts here. I want to find ways to improve our processes and support the Army Test and Evaluation Command and Installation Management Command mission. We already have a fantastic program so I’m not starting from scratch, I’m pretty lucky in that regard.