In an induction ceremony at Joint Base Charleston Sept. 17, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston District officially welcomed its first honorary civilian commander to the team.
The honorary commander program — organized and led by Joint Base Charleston — brings distinguished civilians and military leaders in the Charleston area together to encourage the exchange of ideas and give civic-military counterparts an increased understanding of organizations’ missions.
This year, the program selected Cady Nell Keener, assistant vice president for development and special gifts at Charleston Southern University, to serve as honorary commander for Charleston District.
Keener, who previously worked as CSU’s executive director of external relations and special gifts, has extensive leadership experience in the Charleston area. In addition to her role as vice president of Ellevate, a local women’s leadership networking organization, Keener also serves on both the JBC Advisory Council and the North Council for the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce. In 2019, Keener was also recognized as one of the Charleston Regional Business Journal’s 40 Under 40.
“We are so thrilled to have Cady Nell Keener join our team,” said Lt. Col. Rachel Honderd, commander, Charleston District. “Ms. Keener brings a wealth of experience and unique skills to the district, and we look forward to working together to help build stronger partnerships across the region and generate greater awareness about our programs.”
The district welcomed Keener to its headquarters in downtown Charleston recently for a tour of the building and to meet some members of the team. Honderd and district leaders also gave Keener an overview of the Army Corps and in-depth breakdown of the district’s state-wide missions.
Honderd has identified university outreach as one of the district’s top initiatives for fiscal year 2021 and believes partnerships like the honorary commander program are key to making it a success
“The Army Corps has such an important and diverse mission set that truly depends on the best and brightest,” Honderd said. “Over the next year, partnerships like this one will help us streamline our internships and career opportunities and may create opportunities to collaborate on emerging technology and local engineering studies.”
According to JBC, appointed members of the Honorary Commander Program represent a vast cross-section of the local community and hold a variety of positions. Terms run for a duration of two to three years.
“The Joint Base Charleston Honorary Commanders Program was developed to encourage an exchange of ideas, experiences and friendship between key members of the local civilian community and the Charleston military community,” said Neysa Williams, 628th Air Base Wing Public Affairs Office community engagement chief.