The Hocking College Board of Trustees
Jeanette Addington is a first-generation college student. She attended Ohio University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Business Pre-Law and a master's degree in Business Administration. A certified public accountant, Addington began her career with a regional CPA firm between getting the degrees. She became the firm's first female partner and eventually the managing partner. After retiring she joined Ludowici Roof Tile as chief financial officer in 2017, she focuses on keeping the company community-minded.
Addington has served on college and school boards and organizations promoting education, humane animal concerns and economic development.
Gerry Bird was born in Long Beach, California, and grew up in Central Ohio. Bird graduated from Miami University with a bachelor’s degree in Architecture in 1971, a master’s degree in Architecture from the Ohio State University in 1973 and a master’s degree in Business Administration from Capital University in 1983.
Gerry has been a licensed architect since 1974 and has been licensed in seven states. He was a partner in a firm that designed the original buildings at Hocking Technical College. Gerry was director of development for a hotel development company for seven years, with numerous projects throughout the eastern half of the country. In 1993, Bird Houk Collaborative was founded and provided architectural, planning and landscape architecture services. Design work included more than 30 hotels, more than five million square feet of office space, mixed-use facilities, residential, schools and university projects. Planning projects included several golf course communities, large-scale mixed use and residential. Bird Houk Collaborative merged with OHM Advisors in 2010.
Since the merger, Gerry has continued to provide consulting services as a designer, owner’s representative and developing selected projects. An Eagle Scout, Gerry has always had a love for the outdoors, and continues to travel, hike and enjoy the beauty of Ohio, the Florida Everglades and the western United States with his wife, Janice. Time with children and grandchildren is always cherished.
Gerry has served on numerous boards, advisory committees, past president of the Columbus chapter of the American Institute of Architects and is excited and honored to be a Trustee for Hocking College.
Vice-Chairman of the Board of Trustees
Stuart Brooks was born on May 5, 1951, in Lancaster, Ohio. He graduated from Nelsonville-York High School in 1970 and attended both Ohio University and Hocking College. In May 1965, he started working at William Brooks Shoe Factory, which would later become Rocky Boots. Then, he went on to work with his grandfather in the retail business in Nelsonville for 17 years. He then went to work for Rocky Boots and the First National Bank in Nelsonville. Brooks is married to Denise Carter-Brooks and has two children from a previous marriage. He’s been on the boards for OhioHealth in Nelsonville for six years and the First National Bank for 23 years. Brooks has six grandchildren.
Michael J. Budzik has had an extensive career in natural resources. From 1987-95, he was the District Four manager for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife based in Athens, Ohio. From 1995-2003, Budzik was the Division of Wildlife chief. After leaving ODNR, he became the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance's director of recruitment and retention from 2005-2006. Currently, he serves as a liaison for the Ohio Sportsmen's Clubs and Conservation Organizations. He also works part-time in the governor's office as a member of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Policy Staff.
Budzik has received several honors, including Special Recognition from the Ohio Senate and House of Representatives, Ohio's Man of the Year Award from the Woods and Water Conservation Association, Conservationist of the Year Award from the League of Ohio Sportsmen and Hocking College's Distinguished Alumni Award.
Budzik and his wife Melodee have two daughters and two great-grandchildren.
Mark M. Dean grew up in Delaware, Ohio. He studied political science at Miami University in 1985 and a master's degree in Coaching Education from Ohio University in 2001.
He served 20 years in the U.S. Army, beginning as an enlisted soldier in the 75th Ranger Regiment and later attended Officer Candidate School. He served as a Military Intelligence Officer in Germany and attended flight school to become a qualified UH-1 helicopter and the dual prop King Air pilot, and was sent to Ohio University for an Army ROTC tour.
After relocating to Athens, Ohio, he transitioned to a full-time Army Reserve National Guardsmen. He retired from the Army in 2007.
For more than 10 years, Dean has served as the vice president and brand general manager for the Commercial Military and Public Services Categories department at Rocky Brands, Inc.
Dean and his wife Amy reside on a small "hobby farm" located by Stroud's Run State Park.
Pastor Leon Forté is the founding and senior pastor of Grace Christian Center in Athens, Ohio. He is a highly sought after and dynamic speaker who has traveled extensively to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He and his wife Linda live in southeastern Ohio near Athens.
Forté grew up in Columbus, Ohio, and in 1990, he founded a church in Athens. Grace Christian Center's current home on Johnson Road was built in 2003, and also houses the Francine C. Childs Early Learning Center.
Forté attended Word of Life Bible College (World Harvest), was ordained through Victory Christian Center and received a master's degree in theology from Jacksonville Theological Seminary.
Chairman of the Board of Trustee
Ben Mitchell is the global extrusion coatings sales manager for Dura Coat Products, Inc. (an Axalta Coatings Systems Company). He earned a Bachelor of Science in Comprehensive Sciences and a Master’s of Business Administration from Urbana University. He’s also studied at the University of Louisville and the University of Southern Mississippi.
Mitchell has served on many industry committees and authored or co-authored books and articles. Aside from the Hocking College Board of Trustees, Mitchell is also a trustee for the college’s foundation and served as a trustee for Urbana University from 2010-2014.