Rick White (1978) is a native of Utica and hasn’t strayed too far away from home since then. He studied accounting at Hinds, earning an associate degree, before earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Mississippi College.
“When I came to Hinds, like a lot of students, I really didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do. I had an idea about studying business but it wasn’t well founded. I had some friends who went into the accounting program. I started taking accounting classes and really found my place,” he said. After a couple of jobs elsewhere, he and his brother Frank formed Metro Mechanical in Bolton 29 years ago. Rick serves as Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.
“It was kind of a dream to run our own show and be entrepreneurs,” he said. “We had no customers, no employees, no money, no business and no history in the Jackson area but we just kind of went for it.” Now, Metro Mechanical has about 200 employees with three offices in Mississippi and Louisiana. The company is in the contracting and service business handling commercial air conditioning, heating and plumbing.
A few years ago, long-time friend Percy Thornton approached him about joining the Hinds Community College Foundation board. Thornton was president of the board at the time. “I really think the Foundation has a great purpose and is a great cause. I really am a Hinds fan, and not just because I went to school there,” White said.
He sees great benefit in Hinds offering two pathways, one to a four-year academic degree at a university, for someone so inclined, but also a one- or two-year training program for those who want to get into the job market quicker.
“Four-year degrees are not for everyone. You may want to do that, and congratulations if you do. I did that track myself. But if you’re not inclined, don’t go spend your parents’ money. You also might have taken a shorter program that fits your life better,” he said. “Hinds really provides those things. And, the Foundation helps those students who have already become smart enough, maybe, to figure out, ‘Let me do a one-year or a two-year thing and I’m going to go to work.’
“Hinds provides both of those pathways that, I think, fit our lifestyles and what a Mississippi student might want to pursue,” White said.
The college’s programs and the Foundation’s scholarship funds “really align very well.” He and his wife Melanie recently started a scholarship through the Hinds Community College Foundation. “Both of us went to Hinds. We feel we can give back. We want to be local supporters,” he said.
Metro Mechanical this year also had a one-time scholarship to help foster HVAC students that could evolve into a permanent scholarship.