Thomas Stith III became president of the North Carolina Community College System on Jan. 11, 2021.
Stith, a leader with two decades of experience in public service and business in North Carolina, was previously district director of the U.S. Small Business Administration, where he led the federal agency’s response to COVID-19 in North Carolina.
He served as chief of staff to former Gov. Pat McCrory from 2013 to 2017 and was a three-term city council member in Durham from 1999 to 2007. During his time in the Governor’s Office, he led special initiatives including the establishment of the Venture Capital Multiplier Fund (a $60 million venture fund), the Governor’s initiative on historically black colleges and universities and Hurricane Matthew recovery.
Stith has extensive experience in economic development and government relations. He was chief executive of several businesses and consulting firms, including the Michael Thomas Group in Durham and LJP Lab, a toxicology lab and health care consulting company in Kernersville.
His higher education experience includes five years as economic development program director at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise at the Kenan-Flagler Business School, from 2008 to 2013. There he focused on improving Eastern North Carolina economies, securing grant funds and managing renewable energy projects.
Stith holds a bachelor’s degree in management and a Master of Business Administration in marketing from North Carolina Central University, as well as a certificate in nonprofit management from Duke University.
He has served on the boards of the Golden LEAF Foundation, the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise, the North Carolina Institute of Political Leadership and the United Way of the Greater Triangle. He is a member of the North Carolina Leadership Forum and a deacon at Union Baptist Church.
He and his wife Yolanda have three daughters – Kara, Kiah and Kira.