Eric Thomas honored as Mississippi Building Official of the Year
Eric Thomas, Building/code enforcement officer for the City of New Albany, has been named “Building Official of the Year” by the Building Officials Association of Mississippi (BOAM).
The award, given Friday, June 17, at BOAM’s annual convention in Gulfport, recognizes Thomas’s accomplishments since taking over the Building/code department seven years ago.
Without naming names or going into details, it is safe to say that Building and Code was a troubled department in city government when Mayor Tim Kent recruited Thomas, and in 2015 he was hired by the Board of Aldermen.
Thomas has worked methodically and steadily to raise the professional standards of code enforcement and building code development. He has been a key player in the work during the last few years to update and improve the city’s building and zoning code.
Besides mastering the technical and legal aspects of the job, Thomas has proven to be fair and respectful in dealing with everybody from major builders to apprentice level craft people and everything in between. A great many of these people have essentially said of Thomas, ‘He enforces the code, but he’s always fair and polite about it.’
A native of Union County, Thomas had worked in the building industry for a number of years. Immediately before becoming the city’s code enforcement officer, he had been a service technician with JESCO, the Tupelo construction giant that does over $200-million annually.
Besides his building/code enforcement work, Thomas wears multiple other hats in city government operations. He is a 20-year volunteer fireman, who has completed numerous classes and received certifications in many aspects of public safety and fire department operations. He also serves as the “first call” information technology person at City Hall.
Thomas and his wife Tammy have a son, William, who is in the 11th grade at New Albany High School.
“I am grateful for the support I have received over the years from the mayor, the board of aldermen and the zoning board,” said Thomas. “The main focus of code enforcement is public safety, but strict code enforcement also preserves and improves the value of every piece of real estate in the city. It takes many hours of study to keep up the certification to be a certified Inspector.
“There is still a lot more work to be done, but I feel like we are working together to make New Albany a safer and more attractive place to live.”