Becoming a Leader at NC State

Wes McClure talks about learning that he had good leadership skills through his involvement in Student Government at NC State. The skills proved to be crucial assets during his military service and his career as an architect.

Interview on 2014-12-04


00:00:00.000 I never thought of myself, before I came to NC State, as a leader in any way. I was socially congenial, I played sports; I wasn’t in student council or any of that.
00:00:12.315 But I think when I came to State and I got involved in student government I found out that I was a pretty good leader,
00:00:19.257 that I was comfortable in front of groups and speaking. The two years I was a senator I was Best Speaker in the legislature.
00:00:26.133 So that was something I just didn’t know about myself, and then that was beneficial to me starting in the military.
00:00:34.240 I mean when you show up on an island on the staff of an admiral and you’re an ensign most everybody else has got at least four–.
00:00:45.048 I mean they’re captains, they’re commanders, they’re lieutenant commanders; you’re nothing.
00:00:51.455 So having the composure to be able to relate to these kinds of power figures, really, including a two-star admiral,
00:00:58.563 really started before I came to State because I interacted with faculty members at Clemson, but even more so at State, and that helped me in my military career.
00:01:10.777 I received the Joint Service Commendation Medal for some planning activities I did while I was in the service.
00:01:19.483 Then as I became an architect, whether it was in Europe or in Washington, DC or in North Carolina, you have to constantly present to clients and prospective clients
00:01:32.663 and relate to people, whether it’s the governor if you’re doing a master plan for state government, or a corporate CEO if you’re doing a corporate headquarters,
00:01:38.203 and I’ve done those too, or a hospital CEO. So having that grounding and having that comfort with doing that has helped me through my entire career.