FAA admin returns to city; Solco to speak at Black History Month assembly

Port Arthur native Kelvin Solco knows that hard work and determination can go a long way.

The Stephen F. Austin High School graduate, who went on to study at Prairie View A&M and has been employed with the Federal Aviation Administration for more than 30 years, will bring his message to St. Paul United Methodist Church at 3 p.m. Sunday during a Black History Month event. His topic; “Make Sure They Never Forget.”

“This (event) is designed to encourage folks in Port Arthur, to hear from a native that if you work hard, you can do well and can be part of history,” Solco, regional administrator of the FAA’s Southwest Region, said by phone.

Solco was a typical kid growing up in Port Arthur. He graduated SFA in 1979 and “loved the city,” he said.

“I have always been an overcomer of obstacles,” he said. “I was in an accident, a house fire as a toddler, and suffered third degree burns and had some physical challenges. I have a great family, friends and teachers in Port Arthur who helped me strive to overcome obstacles. That’s my push.”

Solco was just 19, a sophomore in college studying civil engineering, when he was approached by the FAA to become an intern. So, as a sophomore, he moved to Fort Worth, worked his way through school and began a career in aviation after college.

“My passion was to go to college,” he said. “In high school I was interested in art, English and I liked sports. I had no idea I’d end up in engineering.”

Solco’s accomplishments are many. He is the regional administrator of FAA’s Southwest Region, which includes more than 4,600 employees in the states of Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and New Mexico. He was appointed to the position in 2014. As regional administrator, he works closely with representatives of the aviation industry, various federal, state and local government agencies and civic and private interest groups. He directs delivery of corporate services through the region including command and communication operations, building and facility services, executive services and cross-organizational project integration, according to his biographical information.

He has been with the FAA for 34 years and is a member of the FAA’s Senior Executive Service for 10 years. He holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Prairie View A&M University and an MBA from LeTourneau University. He is also a registered professional engineer in the State of Texas.

Solco enjoys travel, art, public speaking and Christian outreach activities. He is the third son of Norman and Ellen Solco, pastors of Victory Christian Church in Port Arthur. He and his wife, Demetria, have two sons, Kelvin Jr. and Kristopher.

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