Wise native Adkins begins work as Lenowisco regional planner

Stephen Igo • Jul 1, 2013 at 9:02 PM

DUFFIELD — A native son of the town of Wise began his first day on the job on Monday as a regional planner for the Lenowisco Planning District Commission.

Jimmy Adkins, who will turn 32 in less than two weeks, is a ’99 graduate of J.J. Kelly High School who graduated from The University of Virginia’s College at Wise in 2004 with a degree in political science with a government concentration.

Adkins takes over project management services from Chris Starnes, who left the planning commission in April to assume a position with Gulf and Ohio Railways in Knoxville. Those responsibilities will include transportation planning items, demographic profiles, and general water and wastewater application assistance to the counties and municipalities in Lee, Wise and Scott counties, and the city of Norton.

Adkins has worked the last two years at the Virginia Employment Commission in Norton as a work force service representative. He also served a stint as director of the Virginia Mining Association and as an associate agent for Mullins Insurance Agency, both in Norton, and eight years working his way up to branch manager of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, with branches in Norton, Lebanon and Big Stone Gap.

Adkins’ background also includes involvement in Camp Possibility/Workforce Investment Act Camps managed by the Lonesome Pine Office on Youth. He was involved in a range of activities while attending UVa-Wise including with the campus Student Government organization.

Now, Adkins relishes an opportunity to assist his native Southwest Virginia in any way his new position offers.

“I’ve had the opportunity to move (elsewhere) but I never did, and didn’t want to. To raise a family here, where I was born and raised, was most important to me,” he said.

“Being a part of an organization like the Lenowisco Planning District Commission to help make home a better place was a driving factor for me.”

A regional planner handles “a lot of front-end planning and project management” details with localities, and that includes coordinating projects with state and federal agencies.

Adkins said his job is essentially “putting together those in need with funding partners and implementation partners. My job is to help put the pieces of the puzzle together to make a project happen and come to fruition.”

Adkins’ first day on the job rings familiar for anyone who has ever had a first day on any job. He was still getting his sea legs, so to speak.

“Oh, man. I’ll know more in a day or two,” he said.

“Give me until our first staff meeting on Wednesday. But I believe projects that are pending run the gamut regarding recreational trails, maybe a regional job exposition event, then working with some transportation projects in all of our localities. And some infrastructure type projects.

“I’m not sure yet what order they come, but I’ll just play my role and do what I can.”

Adkins is certain there will be a lot of work with the Virginia Department of Transportation in his future, “and whatever our partners, our counties and municipalities, whatever our people need.”

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