Making Connections – EC Alumni Spotlight on Gordon Grizzle

The Lord’s plan is always perfect.

For EC alumnus, Gordon Grizzle ’11, this statement couldn’t be more accurate. Gordon did not come from a forestry background, however felt the Lord pulling him toward the field while doing a career development event on wildlife in high school. It just clicked.

Gordon grew up on the Emmanuel campus, where his mother serves as the college Registrar. When it came time to decide on which college to attend, Emmanuel was at the top of his list.

“I applied to other colleges, but Emmanuel just made sense,” he said. “Mom being there helped, but at the same time it felt like home and was just where I envisioned myself going.”

After completing his associates from Emmanuel, Gordon went onto the University of Georgia where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Forestry in December of 2013.

Now, working in the Timber industry in middle Georgia, Gordon is confident that his time at both Emmanuel and Georgia prepared him for a successful career.

“The Forestry program at UGA was very similar to my classes at Emmanuel,” he said. “The class sizes, structure, and the relationships I had with my professors were similar. My professors at Emmanuel and UGA took an interest in me, taking time to answer my questions and make sure I had what I needed to be successful.”

One of the greatest lessons that stuck with Gordon came from a professor who shared about the value of relationships.

“I can remember sitting at UGA in a class of about 15 people and my professor told us to take a look around at each other, that my classmates would be the people I would work with for the rest of my career if I stayed in Forestry,” Gordon recalled. “At first, I didn’t believe him. Now, I know that he couldn’t have made a truer statement. The people I sat in that classroom with are the same ones I deal with every day.”

Gordon’s day-to-day responsibilities differ, but in the management of growing timber for Green Diamond, he puts the skills he learned in the classroom to use.

“I manage logging crews, which is my standard role,” he said. “I do the marketing and logistics for Green Diamond and take the trees we’ve grown to maturity and advertise them to local buyers, recruit loggers and negotiate sales. I get to see all aspects of the timber business from growing, to harvesting, to the final product.”

For Gordon, the relationships he’s built through involvement in the Society of American Foresters and the Georgia Forestry Association will carry him for the rest of his life. 

“Being involved gains you so many connections,” he said. “I cannot sling a dead squirrel without hitting someone that I’ve met at a meeting. You cannot replace those connections you build.”

One group where Gordon has made irreplaceable connections is the Houston County Young Farmers chapter, where he was just recognized as the Young Ag Professional of the State.

“I never participated in Young Farmers growing up, but my dad always thought they were important,” he said. “I got involved in our county’s chapter which is filled with young professionals. Our advisor asked if she could nominate me to represent the county, and I agreed but didn’t think anything about it at first. When I won the region, I was taken aback – I didn’t know what it meant. But, when I won the State, our advisor announced it at our local chapter meeting, and it came to me what a big deal it was. It was surreal.”

Typically, the State recipients are recognized in Washington, D.C. where they will compete at the national level however due to COVID, Gordon is unsure what the next step will be. 

What advice would Gordon give a college graduate? 

“Keep your options open,” he said. “I didn’t come from a forestry background but yet, I got into a profession that the Lord said, ‘this is you’ and it just clicked. You’re not going to make life happen. You’re going to do what you’re designed to do. If you try to make something happen, it just won’t work. Things will come into place the way they’re supposed to, the way that they’re designed to, and that’s it.”