Northwest’s Heindl named a Mississippi Business Journal Top CEO

Published 1:51 pm Monday, June 7, 2021

The Mississippi Business Journal has selected Northwest Mississippi Community College President, Dr. Michael Heindl to receive a 2021 Top CEO award.

The award recognizes Mississippi’s most influential business leaders who demonstrate excellence in their fields. Heindl, along with other honorees from across the state, were recognized at the CEO Awards of Mississippi on May 27.

“It’s truly an honor to be recognized in this way, and I’m most excited in being able to place a spotlight on all the great work we are doing at Northwest to serve our students,” he said.

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Northwest’s ninth president, Heindl assumed the office in July of 2018. Prior to his arrival at the college, he served as executive vice president of Administration and Finance at Gulf Coast Community College in Perkinston. In his time as a Northwest Ranger, Heindl has bolstered the college’s reputation as an institution providing exceptional opportunities for students as well as a strong resource for the communities it serves.

Specifically, Heindl has helped ensure Northwest’s continued financial stability, including pioneering the Northwest Foundation’s first-ever capital campaign. As part of Northwest’s five-year plan, he has also ushered in new physical growth across the college’s 11-county district.

New facilities brought to life or in progress under his leadership include: Calhoun Hall, a 45,000-square-foot, two-story female residence hall opening for occupancy in the Fall 2021 semester; the Northwest Health and Wellness Clinic, the college’s first on-campus health clinic, opened in the fall of 2020; an additional fitness center on the main campus, outfitted with equipment purchased with a grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield; a new 1,200-seat Performing Arts Center, under construction now; the Softball and Soccer Complex, slated to be finished by the spring of 2022; Panola Concourse, a new workforce training center in Batesville that will house the college’s Diesel Mechanic Technology program, Welding program, Construction Trades program, and Adult Education classes, among others; and Everest, Mississippi’s first rural education and technology hub located in Water Valley that will house Base Camp Coding Academy, a partner of Northwest’s, and Northwest classroom and office space.

During his tenure and with his enthusiastic support, the college has also seen athletic success, with the football program’s North Division championship win in 2019, MACCC and National Community College Football Championship titles in 2020 and Northwest Cheer’s two UCA College national championship wins in 2021.

Along with the institution’s physical growth, Heindl has overseen the growth of the college’s Career and Technical offerings and the creation and expansion of its School of Health Sciences, including the addition of the Utility Line Worker program in Olive Branch and Health Care Assistant and Physical Therapist Assistant programs.

Finally, in a school year ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic, Heindl has exhibited strong leadership in enacting new health and safety guidelines across all of the college’s campuses, moving the vast majority of classes online and initiating changes in scheduling and procedures in the interest of student and employee health.

In February, Heindl was also awarded the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society’s Paragon Award for New Presidents. He was one of only 22 selected honorees from a nationwide pool of 500 college presidents. The Paragon Award is given to new college presidents who have shown strong support of student success by recognizing academic achievement, leadership and service among high-achieving students at their college.

That same month, Achieving the Dream announced its first cohort of colleges, including Northwest, in its new Building Resiliency in Rural Communities for the Future of Work initiative. The inaugural cohort of seven colleges based around the country will focus on increasing equitable student success and aligning postsecondary pathways to sustainable careers.

For more information about Northwest, visit