Jim Rock: Having opportunity to help others an honor

Published 5:30 am Monday, September 5, 2022

Jim Rock believes that volunteerism is “simply the sharing of one’s time and talent for the benefit of others.”

For Rock, his talent primarily stems from his copious amounts of experience in the industry field. He has worked in various engineering, maintenance, operations, and environment health and safety positions, which earned him 45 years of industry experience. Though he currently works as the executive director of Lake Area Industry Alliance, he has previously retired from PPG and Lotte Chemical.

This experience has inspired his volunteer work.

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“I was fortunate enough to work for PPG who, like other local industries, sees value in community improvement activities,” he said. “My employer not only supported but encouraged volunteerism.”

During his time volunteering through PPG, he did things such as initiating the first “Partner in Education” between Our Lady Queen of Heaven and a local business. “That relationship with the plant and Our Lady Queen of Heaven still exists where my grandchildren are students.”

Rock’s journey with volunteerism began when he was a teenager. “I started doing volunteer work back in high school when I served as the president of the Catholic youth organization in my parish,” he said.

During this time, he and his peers participated in trash clean-up activities, ran the concession stand, and worked with parish service groups.

Currently, Rock serves on several boards and committees: Community Foundation of SWLA, SWLA Safety Council, Alliance for Positive Growth, Chamber of Commerce Committees (Workforce Development and Environmental), Louisiana Chemical Association Committees (Safety and Security), McNeese State University School of Business Advisory Council, and the Just Imagine SWLA Advisory Council.

Projects he is volunteering his time include the McNeese LNG Center of Excellence and the I-10 Calcasieu River Bridge Task Force. He is also session moderator and a member of the planning committee for America’s LNG and Gas Summit and Exhibition.

For Rock, there is always someone in the community that can benefit from acts of volunteerism. “Every community has members that range from newborns to the most elderly citizens with needs,” he explained. “There is always something that can be done for others, but in the last two years, the needs in Southwest Louisiana have been off the charts.”

“Having the means and the opportunity to help others is not only a right, it is an honor. To not take advantage of that opportunity to help others is a waste of resources.”

He believes that people who want to volunteer should consider utilizing their own talents to enact the most change. “I would suggest that people think about what things are important to them and what they care about the most. Whatever that is, there will be some agency or organization in your community that focuses on that topic,” he said. “It will provide you with the opportunity to serve others, enhance their lives and maximize the good you can do as you share your time and talents.”

Rock’s current role at Lake Area Industry Alliance allows him plenty of time to dedicate to volunteerism. “I am extremely fortunate at this time of my life to have a ‘part-time’ position, which provides me much more time to spend on volunteer activities in Southwest Louisiana,” he said. “I would encourage those that are retired, about to retire or are only partially employed, to find an opportunity to share their talents and time for the betterment of our community.

“The skills and talents you have learned during your working years do not need to be retired when you retire. They are still useful and can be a great gift to those in need and our community.”