Civil Engineering Alumnus Is VP of Sales at Nansemond

Kelly Holloman credits UM education with concrete career

Kelly Holloman (left) discusses work with NPCC founder (and fellow UM alumnus) Doug McConnell. Submitted photo.

Kelly Holloman has served steadily in the construction industry since earning his civil engineering degree from the University of Mississippi in 1994.

Before becoming vice president of sales at Nansemond Pre-Cast Concrete Co. in Suffolk, Virginia, Holloman was a senior project manager for Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, a planning and design firm in the Richmond and Hampton Roads areas of Virginia for 15 years. There, he mainly specialized in land development engineering, focusing on port-related industrial projects, as well as residential and retail projects.

“While growing up, I had two much-older brothers-in-law that were engineers,” said Holloman, who is originally from Enfield, North Carolina. “They encouraged me to go to engineering school, but I chose to attend East Carolina University and major in economics. I received that degree in 1990.”

Following graduation, the economy experienced a slight downturn, so Holloman decided to return to school and major in civil engineering. He selected UM for its relatively small engineering school and student-to-faculty ratio.

“As a student, one of my favorite classes was Rock Mechanics with Dr. Nolan Aughenbaugh,” he said. “He was a real pleasant guy who loved his subject matter. He was always interjecting his experiences into the lectures. We students kind of viewed him as a James Bond type of character – if James Bond had been an engineer.”

Holloman named several favorite engineering faculty at Ole Miss, including the late Charles Smith Sr., chair emeritus and professor emeritus of electrical engineering, and Kenneth Stead Jr., assistant professor emeritus of civil engineering.

“Unlike other programs, civil engineers at Ole Miss have to take the same Circuits class that the electrical engineers take,” Holloman said. “Dr. Smith was always willing to take the time to make sure us civil majors got it.”

Holloman remembers Stead giving him a solid piece of advice.

“[He] told us, ‘Engineering is like baseball, and at Ole Miss, we’re going to teach you how to throw, hit and catch,” he said. “If you can throw, hit and catch, you can play shortstop today, maybe pitch tomorrow, and outfield if needed.’”

That is exactly what Holloman’s Ole Miss experience provided him, he said.

“It has given me the technical skill set, the ability to think like an engineer and the confidence to complete different types of engineering projects throughout my 23-year career. I believe this is because of my Ole Miss education.”

Holloman said he considers being a licensed professional engineer in both Virginia and North Carolina his most satisfying professional achievement.

“It validates the educational process I had to work hard to complete,” he said. “I am also grateful for being an Eagle Scout.”

Holloman’s family includes his four sisters, four nieces, five nephews and a great-niece. His leisure activities include golfing, fishing, hunting and reading history.

“I enjoy boat building and have built five boats,” Holloman said. “My first boat was the canoe for our ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) student chapter while at Ole Miss.”