Guest column: Positive changes for the community

The Daily Ardmoreite
Mita Bates, IOM, CCE

All across the City of Ardmore there have been changes in the leadership of both City, Civic and Business partners.  Change is good for our community allowing a rich legacy of progress and excellence to continue under new leaders.

The City of Ardmore welcomed three new City Commissioners as well as Kevin Boatright our new City Manager and Kevin Norris as our new Chief of Police.  Southern Tech welcomed a new Superintendent – Dr. Eric Ward and Assistant Superintendent – Dr. Stephanie Bills. 

Our industry partners also added new leadership with Vic Rhodes taking over as Valero, Ardmore Refinery Vice President and General Manager and Kelly Turner becoming Facility Manager for EJ Ardmore Refinery.

Ardmore’s largest employer, Michelin North America – Ardmore announced Rita Caissie as the new Plant Manager.   Caissie represents a new phase of leadership in Ardmore.  Along with quality tires, and excellent delivery.  Rita’s goal is to integrate Michelin’s Ardmore site and the community more fully.  As a plant with more than 2,000 employees, Caissie recognizes that Michelin is the community.  A former schoolteacher,  Caissie has worked for Michelin for the past 30 years.  She spent the first half of her career on the shop floor learning many posts and positions and moved to Ardmore three years ago to lead plant production.  She says her appointment as Plant Manager shows how committed the company is to the growth and development of its employees.  She is Michelin Ardmore’s first female Plant Manager. She continues, “Our goal is for everyone to understand that Michelin Ardmore is not just a tire factory.  It’s an important piece of the community.  Michelin Ardmore truly cares not just for our employees but also for their families, friends, and neighbors.  We have a responsibility to give back to the community who has given us to much over the last 51 years.”

Finally, leadership will change at the Chamber, ADA & ATA will occur at the end of the year.  Change is good!  The new leaders at the helm of these many organizations will continue to ensure that Southern Oklahoma prospers!  The Chamber highlighted the new leaders of the community in its October newsletter which can be accessed at