James Hollins
James Hollins

What is your cultural background? Where did you grow up?                                                                                                         

I was born and raised in a small farming town in northeast Louisiana called Mer Rouge.

My life’s journey began with loving parents who instilled good core values, study hard and get a good education, work hard, be the best you can be, and have faith in the Lord. I had very good role models growing up with my parents, older brother, and two older sisters.


How do you support NNSA?

During 2016-2021, my role was to manage the Execution Working Group that is tasked to integrate planned projects, program needs, operations, maintenance, and safety basis activities into one Integrated Schedule. The Integrated Schedule is used to evaluate and manage resource requirements to support mission, operations, and facility initiative planning. The tool is used to deconflict activities and to identify planning options.

My mission is and has always been the same since working at the NNSA – ensure the security of the United States and its allies by supporting the stewardship of the nation’s nuclear deterrent.


How did you become interested in the field you were in? How did you end up on that career path?

My engineering journey began in the eighth grade. I wanted to follow in the footsteps of my big brother who received his engineering degree from Louisiana Tech University and started working at the Nevada Test Site. He used to tell me about all the exciting work that he was doing and how much he enjoyed it.

After graduating from Louisiana Tech University with a bachelor’s in civil engineering and several internships at the Nevada Test Site, I knew that this was my future. My job there had meaning and a purpose like no other; I found it interesting. I felt that I was serving my country with new technology.


What was one of your favorite things about working at NNSA?

NNSA gave me the opportunity to work with great colleagues. I like the responsibility and am always excited about the challenges. I can utilize my background in all aspects of technical and scientific leadership and administrative management. There is always an opportunity for increasing responsibilities and advancement.


What are the characteristics of the best teams you have been part of?

I was the Event Engineer that led the last nuclear test, Divider, that was performed in the United States. My team did an excellent job in getting the test completed by the deadline, at the request of the President of the United States. The team showed their creativity to meet the date requested and the accelerated schedule brought us even closer together as a family. I will never forget how everyone looked out for one another and made sure that all were safe doing the job. We didn’t know at the time that it would be the last nuclear test, but we came together to do the job. I’m very proud of our accomplishments and I’m left with lots of good memories.


What advice would you give members of the Black community who want to do what you did for NNSA?

The one thing that I would tell someone starting out at NNSA would be to get involved in all aspects of engineering so you can see the whole picture of how it all works. It will help you appreciate your part in the system of engineering.


How will you celebrate Black History Month?

I will celebrate Black History Month by going to events that are culturally relevant to me and my family. I love to go out and eat at Black-owned restaurants and attend old school concerts.


What leader or cultural figure would you like to recognize this month?

I would like to recognize all the great leaders and inventors that came before me. We can never stop remembering the struggles of past leaders and how we should keep pushing forward to make this world a better place. There are many leaders I admire, such as Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, President Barack Obama, and Vice President Kamala Harris.


What do you like to do in your spare time?

Things that I like to do in my spare time are reading about or watching documentaries on African-Americans in sports, music, and achievements in higher educations. These are sources to keep you motivated to be your best in life.


Click here to listen to an audio conversation James Hollins had with LANL's National Security Research Center.