Steve Watkins’s remarkable life and career have been characterized by integrity, courage, leadership and selfless service. He has led soldiers in war, fought wasteful government spending, and managed engineering projects in some of the world’s most harsh environments.
Steve is a 6th generation Kansan, growing up not far from the State Capitol. His father served in the Air Force and is a well-respected physician for around 40 years. His mother is a retired public school teacher.
Steve attended West Point because of his belief in American exceptionalism. There, he excelled at engineering, student government, and football. In the Army, he achieved the rank of Captain, and is a qualified Airborne Ranger. He volunteered to extend his military obligation to deploy to Afghanistan. Steve served in the violent Khost province and conducted combat patrols on the border of Afghanistan-Pakistan.
After the military, Steve spent about ten years serving his country in Iraq, Afghanistan, and throughout Central Asia as an independent contractor, working predominantly with the Department of Defense. He specialized in engineering, security and economic development. He worked diligently to eliminate fraud, waste, and abuse of U.S. taxpayer’s money.
Steve is an accomplished athlete and explorer. In an attempt to become the first person to race in the Iditarod and climb Mt. Everest, he was caught up in the Nepal Disaster of 2015. While at 19,200 ft the mountain., a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, killing over 8,500 people. Twenty-two (22) people died on Mt. Everest, 6 of whom were from Steve’s team. It was the deadliest day in the history of Mount Everest. Describing the ordeal, renowned professional mountaineer Guy Cotter said he relied on Steve’s “heroic leadership amid the chaos.”
Steve has traveled and/or worked in over 75 countries. In addition to a degree from West Point, he holds master’s degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard.