DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — As a kid, Dr. Henry McKoy had big dreams while he grew up in a rural area of Fayetteville.

“I grew up on a dirt road in a house that didn’t have any indoor plumbing,” he said.

McKoy said that young kid then would be proud of him today.

“That 5- or 6-year-old [me] would say that it has been quite a journey, but I know that journey is still not over. There’s still so much work to be done,” McKoy said.

His journey has led him to be a professor at North Carolina Central University, the executive director of the Durham Global Equity Project and the leader of the revitalization project in Durham called Hayti Reborn.

However now, McKoy calls Washington, D.C. home.

“I first got reached out to by the White House back in January of this year. There was a question of whether I would be interested in taking a post in the cabinet,” McKoy explained.

McKoy will serve as the inaugural director of the Office of State and Community Energy Programs.

It is a new role in the U.S. Department of Energy which will oversee nearly $10 billion in capital allocated from the $1 trillion infrastructure bill passed in November.

He said he looks at this role as a continuation of his grassroots work.

“This work I have been asked to lead now at the federal level is the same kind of work. It’s about trying to help give resources in communities that create upward mobility, economic development with gentrification. Focus attention on reducing climate change and creating healthier and happier communities,” said McKoy.

He said he started his new role this week.

McKoy also said while he’s stepping away from his leadership role with Hayti Reborn, he said the organization is continuing its work to help the Hayti community in Durham.