Nick Parker, who lives in Marietta with his wife, Tana, and moved to this area in 1985, was approved unanimously by the Cobb School Board on Wednesday to serve as the district’s new senior executive director of SPLOST. In this role, Parker will oversee 22 people, including four directors, and his duties will entail the planning, construction, design and management of all SPLOST projects.
Parker will step in for interim Director Glen Brown, who served in this role after Doug Shepard resigned in February 2012 to work with MedQuest in Atlanta. Brown is the district’s director of SPLOST program management and accountability.
Parker was one of 30 people who applied for the position, at least two of whom were from within the district.
“I’m excited and very enthusiastic to go to work for the Cobb County School District and look for ways we can contribute to the school system,” said the 62-year-old Parker.
He pursued the position after retiring from 39 years of work in the airline industry. For the past 11 years, Parker worked for Hartsfield-Jackson Airport overseeing construction projects, including the construction of the international terminal, and for 28 years before that, he worked for Delta Airlines in many roles, the latest being the director of facilities in Atlanta.
“I worked (at Hartsfield-Jackson) on behalf of the carriers, making sure that all projects were
constructed to meet the needs of the carriers and to make sure that all construction would benefit the city of Atlanta,” he said.
With many of those projects coming to a close, specifically the international terminal, Parker said a full-time director was not needed, so he retired from that position in June.
“I started doing some local research, looking for opportunities where I could contribute to entities similar to those I had been performing and one of the areas I admired was the Cobb County School District,” he said.
Parker and his family moved to Cobb in 1985 from San Antonio, Texas, after he was named Delta’s new director of personnel relations. Both of his children attended Cobb Schools and graduated from Pope High School.
“Recognizing that there are over 100 schools in the district and I had kept up with SPLOST since it first formed, I knew that there were capital programs to improve and replace and I felt as though some of the skills I had over the last several years might could contribute to that.”
Cobb Schools began SPLOST programs in 1998 and the third, five-year round of collections will wrap up on Dec. 31, with funding for the $718 million SPLOST IV initiative to begin the next day.
There are approximately $20 million in projects remaining in SPLOST III, including paving, intercom work, lighting, small building modifications and technology upgrades. Completion of these projects can continue past the close of the collection period.
Projects on the board
Some of SPLOST IV’s largest projects include rebuilds of Walton and Osborne high schools and East Cobb Middle School, a career academy and two replacement elementary schools that have not been named yet.
Parker said he is aware of the big role he’s taking on with this new position.
“I think one of the greatest challenges we have is recognition that we have a construction site but school going on at the same time,” he said. “I want to make sure that we can be the least disruptive as possible … do not inhibit the learning environment.”
Cobb Superintedent Michael Hinojosa and Chris Ragsdale, Cobb’s deputy superintendent of operations and Parker’s supervisor, said they chose Parker because he brings so much experience to the table, including successfully creating and implementing $6.2 billion in projects at Hartsfield.
“There are many projects that will require strict oversight and accountability,” Hinojosa said about the need for an executive director in this position. “We felt it was important to have someone who had similar experiences with high profile projects to guide us through SPLOST IV on a permanent basis.”
Parker’s first day on the job will be Sept. 1. His salary will be $107,980 a year.
He has a bachelor’s in business administration from the University of Texas in Austin. He worked for Delta between 1975 and 2002 and for Hartsfield-Jackson Airport from 2002 to June 2013.
THE NICK PARKER FILE
* Name: Nick Parker
* Title: Senior Executive Director for SPLOST for Cobb County Schools
* Effective: Sept. 3
* History: Twenty-eight years with Delta Air Lines; 11 years with Hartsfield-Jackson Airport; retired from both
* Age: 62
* Lives: East Cobb with his wife, Tana
* Salary: $107,980 a year, 240-day work week