As a high school student, Josh Nabors had no idea what laid ahead for him after graduation. Seventeen years later, the Snead State Community College alumnus is now part of a global company committed to building a road to space that will be paved by future generations.
Nabors was hired in November 2021 as Supplier Quality Engineer for Blue Origin, a company founded by entrepreneur Jeff Bezos, the founder and executive CEO of Amazon. Blue Origin is aerospace manufacturer and sub-orbital spaceflight services company built on the vision of enabling a future where millions of people are living and working in space for the benefit of Earth. In order to preserve Earth, Blue Origin believes that humanity will need to expand, explore, find new energy and material resources, and move industries that stress Earth into space.
Working at the Huntsville location, Nabors is responsible for ensuring that all products delivered from suppliers are following manufacturing specifications and company standards. After learning about the job through the professional networking site LinkedIn, he applied for the position through Blue Origin’s website.
Nabors said he was interested in working for the company after reviewing Blue Origin’s mission. “Everyone at Blue Origin believes we are not in a race, and there will be many players in this human endeavor to go to space to benefit Earth. Blue’s part in this journey is building a road to space with reusable launch vehicles, so children can build the future.”
Nabors’ career path actually began back at Crossville High School, which he was trying to decide what field to pursue after graduation.
“My mom suggested I talk with my guidance counselor, and he suggested applying for a technology scholarship at Snead State. I was awarded a scholarship for the Electronic Engineering Technology program. The instructors made the program fun and exciting. Because of their enthusiasm and dedication, I excelled at the coursework and knew that a technical or engineering-related career was the right path for me,” Nabors said.
The Crossville High School graduate earned an Associate in Applied Science degree in Electronic Engineering Technology from Snead State in 2006. The EET program is now the Industrial Systems Technology Program at SSCC.
“I went straight from a Snead State classroom to starting a career in Defense and Aerospace as an Electronics Debug Technician troubleshooting (printed circuit board assemblies),” Nabors said. “The AAS degree I received from Snead State laid the foundation for the career I have today. My degree allowed me to pursue opportunities in a technical/engineering field that, without my degree, wouldn’t have been available to me.”
Nabors is also a Certified Quality Engineer (CQE), a certification he earned through the American Society of Quality (ASQ) in 2019.
“Josh is one of our best graduates from our previous Electronic Engineering Technology program. He excelled in his work and has been very successful. He is the first graduate in Snead’s history to work for Blue Origin,” said Director of Career and Technical Programs Dr. Greg Randall, who was also one of Nabors’ instructors during his time at Snead State.
Nabors said he hopes more people who are searching for a career choice would consider a technology field.
“Alabama has so many opportunities for someone looking to build a career centered around technology, industrial systems or manufacturing support. Programs in our community college system help to prepare Alabamians for successful careers in automotive, defense, aerospace, and many other areas,” said Nabors.
“Don’t underestimate yourself or what an AAS degree can do for you if you’re pursuing a career in a technology-related field. Working in a technology-related field can be very challenging especially when you support manufacturing. It’s important to develop a passion and be ambitious, or you can easily become overwhelmed by your duties and responsibilities.”
Nabors credits his success to Snead State Community College and those who encouraged him along the way. “I would like to thank Snead State for awarding me a scholarship and give a very special thanks to Dr. Randall for his dedication to Snead State and for inspiring me to pursue my dreams.”