WAMPLER TO BE MEOC'S
Article appeared in the August 23, 2012 issue of
the Post, written by Glenn Gannaway, Staff Writer
'Michael has the enthusiasm and the passion to
-- MEOC board chairman
A.J. Hatmaker on Michael Wampler's
selection as MEOC executive director
The Mountain Empire Older Citizens
board of directors has selected only the second
executive director in the agency's four-decade
The eight-member board of directors
Tuesday selected Michael Wampler to succeed Marilyn
Pace Maxwell. Wampler is currently the
director of Mountain Empire Transit, one of the many
services provided by MEOC.
Maxwell has been director of MEOC
since it began in 1974. The agency itself grew
out of Maxwell's early work as a gerontology planner
in the area. Maxwell retires Oct. 31, with
Wampler becoming executive director on Nov. 1.
Wampler has been with MEOC for 20
years, having started while still a Distributive
Education student at Powell Valley High School and
continuing while a college student.
A 1997 business and public
administration graduate of the University of
Virginia's College at Wise (then known as Clinch
Valley College), Wampler has worked in several MEOC
departments. "He actually started in the
home-delivered meals program, woring in the
kitchen," Maxwell said Wednesday. Wampler has
also been in family support and case management
Wampler left MEOC to take a job as a
regional emergency services planner for the
Lenowisco Health District, but returned as transit
director in 2008.
As transit director, Wampler has been
in charge of one of the agency's largest departments
and one that is "well rewarded and well decorated,"
The agency received more than 40
applications for the position, which was advertised
nationally, Maxwell said.
Maxwell described the search as
"wonderful," involving both a board of directors
search committee and an MEOC staff search committee.
Board chairman A.J. Hatmaker and seven candidates
were interviewed, with the list being narrowed to
"We were fortunate in that we had
four extremely well-qualified candidates," Hatmaker
said. Wampler's selection, he said, "will
ensure that Mountain Empire carries on as it has in
"We kid Marilyn - but it's not
kidding - that everybody steps down or moves to
another spot, and there's someone there to fill that
position they leave," Hatmaker said. But, he
called Maxwell an "exceptional leader. This
lady is leaving a huge pair of shoes to fill."
"Michael has the enthusiasm and the
passion to continue on," Hatmaker said. "I'm a
great believer that if you don't have passion for
what you do, you don't put your heart into it."
"Not only has he grown with Mountain
Empire, he has watched Mountain Empire grow,"
Hatmaker said. We think we've got somebody who
can pilot that ship."
And, Hatmaker said with a chuckle,
"he gets the opportunity to sit at Marilyn's knee
for a few months and learn from the older one before
she steps aside."
"I am very pleased with and excited
by the MEOC board's decision to select Michael
Wampler as the next MEOC executive director."
Maxwell said in a statement, "Michael is a MEOC
veteran who has very capably demonstrated over the
past 20 years his commitment to our region and to
MEOC and those we serve. Michael believes
solidly in the mission of MEOC and is dedicated to
moving MEOC forward in service to both our older and
"It has always been quite noticeable
to me how very much others enjoy working with
Michael. He is a problem solver whom you can
depend on to get the job done well. He
understands the complexity of our organization and
knows the thousands of pieces and how they all fit
together," she said. "It is important to
observe that Michael is very committed to working as
a team and that he understands that it takes all
those many pieces working collaboratively to produce
anything of substance."
"Michael has worked in practically
every department at MEOC over the years. It is
time that he assumed the position of executive
director, for he is quite ready for that new
responsibility. I congratulate the Board for
their thoroughness in the search process and am very
excited by their decision."