After a long career in fostering economic development in Mississippi, especially through his work at Hinds Community College, Vice President Dr. John Woods of Clinton is retiring on June 30.
“It has been a wonderful opportunity to be a member of this college’s family,” said Woods, vice president for Economic Development and Training.
Dr. Chad Stocks, vice president for Workforce Development, will assume Woods’ duties. Stocks also leads all workforce training, career-technical education and adult education efforts.
“In the early years of our workforce division, Dr. Woods brought a level of workforce knowledge and expertise to the college that helped to established Hinds as an institution that understood the needs of business and industry. His contribution to the successful opening of the Nissan plant in Canton, and more recently the Mississippi River Consortium in Vicksburg, are among the largest projects that he directed,” said Hinds President Dr. Clyde Muse.
Woods arrived at Hinds in 1991 but even before that he worked with the college’s workforce efforts when he was employed at Mississippi State University. He retires with 34 years of total service to the State of Mississippi and is the longest serving workforce specialist currently in the state.
“We will definitely miss his leadership. It has been a great experience to work for him and with him while at Hinds,” said Jim Harper, director of the Small Business Development Center.
Woods is also the longest serving vice president of Economic Development and Training at the college and overseer of Eagle Ridge Conference Center, still a cornerstone meeting facility in the state.
“Dr. Woods has been a great asset to our division at Hinds,” said Peggy Lofton, director of Eagle Ridge Conference Center. “He has always been very supportive of what we do to make our business run smoothly. He has truly taught me to be a better leader, and for that I am thankful.”
Under Woods’ leadership, the Eagle Ridge Conference Center has been a centerpiece for some of the college’s most important efforts and most prestigious events. The facility has drawn national organizations and state leaders to its doors because of its unique setting and capable staff.
The Professional Development Institute (PDI) is another important aspect of Woods’ division. That program is the in-house foundation for training Hinds employees and provides a wide array of personal and work-related programs. In addition, his division oversees the awarding of continuing education certificates (CEUs) for local school districts and other professional organizations.
Among his colleagues, Woods is recognized as a prolific writer and avid outdoorsman. Visitors to his Eagle Ridge office have been able to see an eclectic assortment of memorabilia that reflects his diverse interests and talents.
“Along the way there were many successes, some failures, a few revelations and disappointments. It has been a great ride,” Woods said.
As Mississippi’s largest community college, Hinds Community College is a comprehensive institution offering quality, affordable educational opportunities with more than 170 academic, career and technical programs. With six locations in central Mississippi, Hinds enrolled nearly 12,000 credit students in fall 2015. To learn more, visit www.hindscc.edu or call 1.800.HindsCC.