POPLARVILLE, Miss. — The first day of school in Poplarville isn’t only about Pearl River Community College’s constantly-increasing student body.
President Dr. Adam Breerwood has long envisioned a new way for Pearl River to spread its message.
On Monday, Breerwood announced the school’s new eight-person marketing & communications team.
“We have assembled a team of highly qualified and uniquely talented individuals to promote the life changing opportunities that are available at Pearl River Community College,” Breerwood said. “I am confident in the visionary leadership and ability of this team to bring our message to our surrounding communities.”
Breerwood has tasked new Associate Vice President for Marketing & Communications Candace Harper with bringing his vision to life. As a long-time resident of Pearl River County and PRCC alum, Harper is more than up to the challenge.
“Following in Dr. Breerwood’s leadership, we have big goals for our new team,” she said. “I’m excited to work with such a talented group. This team has already hit the ground running with fresh ideas and a new marketing theme for the new school year.”
Other members of PRCC’s new marketing & communications team include Director of Marketing & Communications Patrick Ochs; Marketing & Communications Specialists Alexx Kennedy, Carol Williams, Kristi Harris, Kari Eve Valence and Chuck Abadie; and Assistant Director of Communications for Athletics Mark Franklin.
Candace Harper will serve as the Associate Vice President of Marketing and Communication. Harper has an extensive background in marketing, having been an adjunct instructor at PRCC for more than 10 years. Additionally, Harper received the Sales and Marketing Professionals Pine Belt Award for her rebranding of the campus bookstore in 2016.
Since joining PRCC’s family as a professional in 2004, Harper has served in a number of roles, including recruiter, cheerleading coach, student activities coordinator, alumni coordinator and most recently Director of Bookstore Services, in addition to her instructor responsibilities. Harper is retaining her current bookstore responsibilities.
Harper has an associate’s degree in business marketing from PRCC, a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Southern Miss and a MBA from Troy. She’s also working towards her doctorate from USM.
A Carriere native, Harper is married to Andy Harper. They have three children, Parker, Preston and Piper.
Harper can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
After previously serving as the Director of Communications for Athletics at PRCC over the last 13 months, Ochs is transitioning into a larger role at the college. Ochs will still oversee communications for athletics, but will now work with the new marketing & communications team to ensure continuity between all of PRCC’s outreach efforts.
During his time at Pearl River, Ochs has worked to modernize the athletic department’s social media and web interests to better reach the surrounding communities.
Prior to joining the PRCC family, Ochs worked in the newspaper business at the Natchez Democrat, Oxford Eagle and most recently the Sun Herald.
A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Ochs graduated from Ole Miss with a bachelor’s degree in marketing communications.
Ochs is married to the former Jaime Weaver. They have one daughter, Alexandria Grace.
Ochs can be reached at email@example.com.
Abadie is a 20-year veteran of Pearl River, previously serving as the school’s Director of Public Relations for 18 years before retiring from full-time responsibilities last June.
Under Abadie’s guidance, PRCC developed a promotional recruitment video that won several national awards and created the state’s first regular coach’s show.
Abadie returned to PRCC four months later as a communications assistant, focusing mainly on the Forrest County Center and Lowery Woodall Advanced Technology Center in Hattiesburg.
Prior to joining the PRCC family, Abadie enjoyed a 28-year award-winning career as reporter and editor of the Hattiesburg American. Abadie was named Mississippi Sportswriter of the Year in 1986 and 1988 and received the company’s President’s Award for Outstanding Customer Service in 1990 and 1992.
Abadie graduated from Southern Miss with a bachelor’s in athletic administration.
Abadie is married to Martha. They have two daughters, Miriam and Catherine.
Abadie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Franklin is entering his second season at PRCC as Assistant Director of Communications for Athletics. During Franklin’s first year, Pearl River experienced extensive growth as he oversaw the department’s evolving livestreaming effort. Franklin also helped coordinate communication efforts with the Athletics Department, overseeing releases, interviews and stat keeping for all of PRCC’s teams.
Franklin is a Carriere native and Pearl River Central grad who received his associate’s degree from PRCC before going on to earn his bachelor’s degree in integrated marketing communications from Ole Miss.
Franklin can be reached at email@example.com.
PRCC will capitalize on Harris’ unique skillset to provide unparalleled photo and video content. Harris is entering her second year as a full-time employee at The River. Harris was hired prior to last season as the first Director of Football Media and Creative Services in program history. In addition to several duties pertaining to the football staff, Harris helped to organize photography, videography and print publications for PRCC’s athletics programs.
Prior to joining the PRCC family, Harris launched her own video magazine for high school and junior college sports called "Hometown Hype" in 2016.
Harris also owns her own photography and video design company, Bee Seen Designs.
Harris previously owned Bluejack Ridge Kids Ranch and has also worked as a sales manager at Hancock Bank Trust Service. Harris was raised in Picayune and graduated from Picayune Memorial High School in 1991. She graduated from the University of South Alabama in 1995.
Harris and her husband, Darrin, have two children, Mckinsy and Houston.
Harris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kennedy will have an enhanced role in the new Marketing & Communications Department, specializing in the daily happenings at PRCC.
She previously served as a marketing specialist for PRCC. Kennedy began working full-time at PRCC in 2015 in the General Education office before moving as an academic advisor. During her time as an advisor, Kennedy implemented a new parent information session during orientation.
Kennedy received her associate’s degree from PRCC in 2013 and later earned her bachelor’s in communication studies from USM in 2015. She’s also working toward a master’s degree in communications at USM.
Kennedy and her corgi, Bojangles, are proud Poplarville residents.
Kennedy can be reached at email@example.com.
KARI EVE VALENCE
As a Marketing & Communications Specialist, Valence will primarily focus on media relations and community outreach. Valence has worked for the last several years as a columnist for the New Orleans Times-Picayune and NOLA.com, covering community events, benefits and fundraisers. She has also worked as a freelance journalist and blogger for several websites and publications across the country. Prior to freelancing, Valence worked at WLOX News in Biloxi, Miss., as a multi-media journalist and producer. While at WLOX she covered breaking news stories, anchored the “Around the Region” daily news segment, wrote in-depth pieces for air, website, and social media spots, and learned how to deliver a clear, concise message to the viewing audience. Before joining WLOX, Valence was employed at WDSU in New Orleans as a part of the morning/weekend Assignment Team and interned at the station while getting her BA in English from The University of New Orleans. Valence is originally from Buras, LA in southern Plaquemines Parish (home of the Wildcats) and now lives here in Poplarville with her husband Jonah, their son Little Jonah, and their baby daughter Gentry.
Valence can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Williams is a 29-year veteran of Pearl River Community College. Williams dedicated the first 25 years of her career to working with students in the field of Business Marketing Technology. During that time, Williams and her colleagues grew enrollment to the largest Business Marketing program in the state of Mississippi. She was also instrumental in launching the first comprehensive online Business Marketing program.
In 2015, Williams retired from the classroom and shifted her focus to the Public Relations Department, where she became the college-wide social media coordinator and marketing assistant. Additionally, Williams has led the way in implementing PRCC’s Market and Career Closet, which aim to assist students.
Williams holds an associate in arts from PRCC. She also has a bachelor’s degree in marketing education and a master’s in education, both from USM.
Williams has been married to Jon for 42 years. They have two children and five grandchildren.
Williams can be reached at email@example.com.
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Pearl River Community College offers equal education and employment opportunities. The College does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, national origin, veteran status, or disability. For inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies or to request accommodations, special assistance, or alternate format publication please contact Tonia M. Seal, Director of Admissions and Records/ ADA/Civil Rights Coordinator at P.O. Box 5559, Poplarville, MS 39470 or 601-403-1060 or Maghan James, Assistant Vice President of Student Services/Title IX Coordinator at P.O. Box 5805, Poplarville, MS 39470 or 601-403-1132.