Robert A. McKinnie entered U.S. Government service and the Foreign Service twenty-six years ago from the private sector and academia and has served as a Foreign Service construction engineer with passion in the Department’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations since arrival. Joining the FS in 1985, Rob was the first African-American to serve in the Department’s Foreign Service construction engineer skill code category. He has since served in most of the geographic regions, and he has served from the entry level of the construction engineers’ ladder to the senior-most level.
During his tenure with the Department of State, he has served twelve assignments (ten overseas assignments and two domestic assignments). His career in architecture and construction has taken him to 63 countries with assignments in Djibouti, Niamey, Georgetown, Bogota, Kinshasa, Berlin, London, Dar es Salaam, Yaoundé, and Dubai. He is currently serving as the OBO Regional Project Director in Santo Domingo for construction of the new embassy compound. Rob has been fortunate in that his family has all traveled together from their birth until college.
From 2006 until 2009, Rob served as the Director of Construction Management. It was during the latter half of this domestic assignment in OBO that he became the first construction engineer to reach the Foreign Service rank of Minister Counselor in the Department. He oversaw a major transformation of the Department’s Overseas Buildings Operations’ construction management, security management, and facility management programs. His responsibility included directing the construction execution and transition-to-occupancy phase of 81 diplomatic facilities worldwide and managing the Department’s cadre of construction engineers, facility managers, and site security managers. He also had responsibility for a staff of civil service and personal services contract personnel.
Rob has earned a bachelor of architecture, master of architecture, and a Ph.D. and is a recipient of the Department of State Meritorious and Superior Honor Awards as well as senior performance pay.
Having lived through the racial struggles with his family in Memphis and New Orleans during the 1960s, Rob shares the thought that everyone should live in a way that would make a positive difference in the lives of others. He has served as an EEO Counselor, a mentor to many, and a longtime, passionate recruiter for the Department. He is committed to helping those in need especially through his architectural and construction contributions.