Mississippi’s reconstituted State Workforce Investment Board (SWIB) will gain three new members when it next convenes: economic developer Pablo Diaz of Vicksburg, construction executive Nic Parish of Columbus, and Senate Economic and Workforce Development Committee Chairman David Parker of Olive Branch.
Senate Bill 2564, authored by Parker, improved SWIB by reducing it from 45 to 31 members and requiring the vast majority—including the Chairman of the Board—be representatives from the business community. Small business representation is required. The legislation also tasked SWIB with setting up an Office of Workforce Development and hiring an executive director to coordinate workforce development efforts across the State.
Parish and Diaz will serve as the Lieutenant Governor’s two appointees. The legislation requires they also serve as members of a seven-member Executive Committee charged with approving major decisions of the Office. Parker is the Lieutenant Governor’s appointment from the Senate and will serve as an ex-officio member.
“David Parker had the vision to track the state and federal funds already being spent on workforce development and begin to consolidate efforts to maximize the potential of every tax dollar,” Hosemann said. “Thanks to his efforts, citizens across the State will have the opportunity to skill up and earn higher wages, and companies will have the workforce they need to put roots down in Mississippi and expand.”
Since Diaz was selected to lead the Vicksburg Warren Economic Development Partnership in 2017, the organization has attracted six new companies to the area and helped others to expand. These additions have resulted in 730 new direct jobs for the community, and an associated investment of more than $108 million. Prior to joining the Partnership, Diaz served as executive director of the Grenada Economic Development District. He received his undergraduate degree in accounting from the University of Yucatan and a master’s degree in economic development from the University of Southern Mississippi.
“Pablo’s potential is limitless, and we are fortunate he has shared his talents with Mississippi. He recognizes opportunities and goes after them with the persistence necessary to succeed in a difficult economy, and he will bring the same tenacity to SWIB and workforce development in the State,” Hosemann said.
Parish currently serves as the Vice President of Operations and Contracting at Burns Dirt Construction, Inc., in Columbus. A small, family business in its second generation, Parish has been a partner since 2017 and has held the company’s contractor license since 2015. He is a founding member of FORGE, a community group in Columbus and Lowndes county focused on helping grow K-12 students’ interest in skilled trades. Parish earned a bachelor’s in business, concentration in economics, from Mississippi State University.
“I really got to know Nic when we began working together to promote career and technical education in our K-12 schools in the Golden Triangle area,” Hosemann said. “Mississippi’s small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and they need a voice. As a young person and a small business owner, he will have a valuable and unique perspective to share.”
First elected in 2013, Parker is a small business owner and optometrist representing DeSoto County residents mostly in Horn Lake, Southaven, and Olive Branch. He previously served as Chairman of the Senate Veterans and Military Affairs Committee. A lifelong resident of DeSoto County, Parker completed undergraduate studies at Christian Brothers University and graduated from the Southern College of Optometry.