We are blessed in Lawrence County to have County Commissioners whose expertise benefits us all.
Commissioner Phil Hood chairs four Commission committees: Human Resources, Solid Waste, Utilities, and Workplace Safety; and is vice-chair of a fifth, Facilities. That’s a considerable range of subjects, but his education and work experience make him qualified in them all.
Hood is a Five Points native and attended grades 1 through 8 at the community’s school, before it and others were consolidated into South Lawrence Elementary. His parents Lowell and Ottie farmed; his dad was also a longtime Murray employee and his mom worked for Salant & Salant in Loretto.
Hood went on to UNA after graduating from Loretto High School in 1974. He earned a B.S. in Marine Biology and General Chemistry in 1978, then a Masters degree in Aquatic Biology and Toxicology in 1981.
Most people believe Marine Biology is strictly related to oceans, he said, but it’s actually the study of life in fresh or salt water. His Masters’ thesis examined how sodium selenite in fresh water can enter a Fat Head Minnow through absorption through its skin and tissues. The LC-50 Determination of Sodium Selenite to the Pimephales Promelas is the book that resulted, and it has been requested by several institutions as a toxicity reference such as Stanford University, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
Hood was hired by Murray Ohio in 1983 to find, reduce and/or eliminate hazardous materials and toxins which were present in processes being released into the air, soil or water. The system Murray created won several awards for its environmentally-sound operations. Hood managed a monitoring lab at the Glen Springs Murray dump site (Murray Ohio Dump site) in coordination with State of Tennessee and EPA Region VI in Atlanta and worked with Tennessee Ornithological Society to develop a beneficial reuse site for the Christmas Bird count at the Horseshoe Bend site.
He ultimately worked as Murray’s Manager of Environmental Affairs and Plant Engineering, in charge of wastewater treatment, the electroplating department, security, fire, and safety through 2005. Even after the company stopped operations, he worked for the Murray Trust to assure the facility and its contents were properly closed. Upon Murray closing its doors in September 2005, he continued to work with Swisher Mower in the same position through 2008, when Insyte Solutions took over the operation work with InSyte until May 2012.
After a short but much-needed break, Hood was hired in September, 2012 by Evers Construction Company as its Director of Human Resources and Safety. It was a kind of homecoming, he said, because during graduate school he’d worked 16 months as a sheet metal helper for company founder Mickey Evers beginning in 1978.
Hood was elected in 2014 to represent Lawrence County’s fifth district, where he has lived since 1983. It includes the scenic area crossed by the western leg of the new Highway 64 bypass, from Highway 43 South to just beyond West Point Road.
What makes him proud of his district? “The desire to help your neighbor,” he said. “Beautiful waterways and valleys. Two active volunteer fire departments; a great school. One of the largest furniture stores anywhere around and some of the best barbecue. A historic railroad, and places where Davy Crockett lived and worked.”
He has some specific goals for the area, including improved water distribution through the Leoma Utility System; an emergency alarm system in Leoma; and improvement in the congested traffic zone through Dunn on Highway 43. He also hopes to see economic development in the area south of Lawrenceburg and the Highway 64 bypass.
He is passionate about the environment and therefore, the county’s recycling program. “ The Solid Waste Management system in Lawrence County has been a leader in the areas of recycling and waste reduction efforts. The recognition is wonderful but it is only as effective as those participating in the efforts. The schools in Lawrence County have been an inspiration to what can be done when a group works toward a common goal. Note the efforts to support recycling at local festivals, Middle Tennessee District Fair and in general recycling efforts coordinated with local businesses. In today’s world of convenience, each person needs to understand its impact on the environment and mechanisms which can be used to help reduce, reuse or recycling waste.”