September 30, 2021

New forestry instructor adds strong arm to new program

"But he’s achieved fame on another circuit, befitting every inch of his 6-foot-6, 300-plus pound frame."
BY: Danny Barrett Jr.
Photography by Brad Smith

Wayne Withers Jr. looks the part of a jack-of-all-trades and has the resume’ to prove it.

Withers, 41, of Brandon, was born and raised in Carthage and earned an associate degree in Electrical Technology at East Central Community College in Decatur. He parlayed that into a career as an electrician and in ammonia refrigeration, all the while working with heavy equipment and driving a log truck in the logging industry.

But he’s achieved fame on another circuit, befitting every inch of his 6-foot-6, 300-plus pound frame.

Withers is a national champion arm wrestler through the World Arm Wrestling League. He’s easily Mississippi’s top-rated arm wrestler, with a 34 titles overall in state-level tournaments throughout North America, including Louisiana, Alabama, New Mexico, Illinois and Pennsylvania, to name just a few.

“I got into it because of my dad, who was the local town strongman, logger and diesel mechanic,” Withers said. “He would arm-wrestle people on the spur of the moment as a test of strength.”

His latest foray is into teaching, specifically as Logging Equipment Operator instructor in the college’s new Logger Equipment Operations Academy. The 16-week program is designed to equip students with little or no experience to become a logging operator with all necessary safety certifications and obtain the Professional Logging Manager (PLM) status. This project is being funded by a $1.3 million grant by the Department of Labor and Delta Regional Authority. Classroom instruction takes place in the T.H. Kendall Agricultural Complex on Seven Springs Road. Hands-on instruction takes place on a tract of undeveloped land in Hinds County.

“My goal is to make a very good class out of what I’m doing,” he said. “It’s going to be something new, so we’re all just getting our feet wet. I hope to make it the best logging school in the United States.”