Si Simmons is Mountain Projects’ new Deputy Director

After 34 years of dedicating her life to helping the Haywood and Jackson County communities, Patsy Davis is planning to take a well-deserved step back in May of 2025.

At the helm of Mountain Projects Inc., Davis has been known as a selfless leader with tremendous compassion for the community – traits that the Mountain Projects staff also sees in Si Simmons, who as of April 29, began his new role as Deputy Director.

Si’s compassion combined with years of experience makes a great fit for the position,” said Davis. “He is well respected among our staff and will help lead Mountain Projects into our next sixty years.”

As Deputy Director, Simmons will be helping Davis with day-to-day operations while a search committee, established by the Mountain Projects Inc. Board of Trustees, works to find a replacement director to assume Davis’ role in 2025.

“Everything you see here is a reflection of Patsy’s leadership,” Simmons said on an early Wednesday morning during his first week on the job “She has a passion for helping people. Nobody can take her place; I believe in Mountain Projects, and she does too.”

Simmons, 62, has worked for Mountain Projects for 18 years – serving as the Manager of Haywood Public Transit for the past five years and working as a WIOA Youth Case Manager before then. 

“I see my role as a tremendous supporter and problem solver,” Simmons said about his career at Mountain Projects. “I’ve always been a team player. I may have had a title on the door, but I believe I’m as good as anybody to roll up my sleeves and drive a bus.”

Though surprised at first by the offer, Simmons felt this new position would allow him to continue his fulfilling work with Mountain Projects, Inc.

“My time with Mountain Projects has made such an impact on me,” Simmons said. “I’m in a great place in my life; I feel like what I do is valued and what I do is worthwhile and helps others.”

A retired coach, Simmons has skills in building teams and is well-known in the community for his experience and compassion for the Mountain Projects mission. 

“As a coach, I told my students that the word ‘team’ stands for ‘Together Everyone Achieves More,’ and I believe that’s true here too,” Simmons said. “It’s so easy to come to work because you feel empowered in your small world to do whatever it takes to help a co-worker, or help a client or someone in need.”

Simmons and his wife, Cindi, will celebrate 40 years of marriage this October. The couple lives in Webster with their yellow lab, Kirby. Their son, Jackson Simmons, is the current Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach for the WCU Catamounts. 

Si and Cindi met at WCU, joined by their passion for basketball and coaching. Cindi, now retired, went on to have a tremendous coaching career in volleyball and basketball and was inducted into the WCU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2000.

And as Simmons continues to learn his role in supporting the staff at Mountain Projects, the Board of Trustees is hard at work putting together a plan and forming a search committee to begin a national search for Davis’ replacement.  

“We have got some tremendous Board members,” Simmons said. “I don’t have a doubt in the world they will lead us in the best possible direction.”