Graduating from Killeen High School in Killeen, Texas, he attained the rank of Aviation Boatswain's Mate 3rd class (E4) in less than two years, with his primary job being a crash and salvage crewman on the flight deck of the USS Coral Sea. During his junior year at Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas, he attended officer candidate school for the United States Marine Corps and accepted a commission as a Second Lieutenant after graduation. After a three-year tour in the Marine Corps, Harris transferred back to the Navy to attend flight school, earning his "wings of gold" to fly P-3 Orions.
Harris has been a guest speaker at Harvard Business School. Harris is a member of the national honor society in Psychology (Psi Chi) and is also a pilot maintaining a commercial pilot's license with multi-engine and instrument ratings. In March 2012, Harris was named "Innovator of the Year" by Black Enterprise magazine.