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Military life prepared Young for career in public sector

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Posted at 6:05 PM, Apr 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-19 20:34:01-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Tex. — One of the city’s newest leaders is like many Americans who learned how to do his job while in serving the U.S. military.

Nieman Young was awarded two bronze stars for service in Iraq. One of them for doing what essentially put him on a path to his current job here in Corpus Christi.

“Civil Affairs, I like to tell people it's almost like the local government arm of the U.S. Army,” said Young.

Earlier this year, Young was hired to be Corpus Christi's newest assistant city manager. He's in charge of the Parks and Recreation Department, along with Gas and Solid Waste. His experience as a civil affairs team leader in Iraq made transitioning to the public sector a natural and rewarding fit.

“In local government and civil affairs work you can have a quick impact on problems and you can get a quick response on seeing if the effort that you put into it worked or not,” said Young.

While the Houston native is closer to home than he's been in years, he's a long, long way from where he started. The oldest of four children, Young enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1994 because he saw the service as a way to college.

“Simply put, we just couldn't afford to have four kids in college all at the same time,” said Young.

He spent ten years enlisted, earning the rank of Staff Sgt. Then in 2003, Young was accepted to Officer Candidates School. Four months after starting OCS, Sgt. Young became 2nd Lt. Young.

“The guys and ladies in the enlisted ranks see you as one of them, as a success story,” said Young. “Most importantly they see you as a Lieutenant that knows what he's taking about.”

Young spent 13 more years as an officer, advancing to the rank of Major, before retiring with 23 years of service. He could have done whatever he wanted, but once again, was called to public service.

It's a decision Young hasn't looked back from.

“I decided I wanted to do similar work when I retired from the military, and there's nothing like local government,” said Young.