Jacqui Vines, senior vice president and region manager for Cox Communications’ Southeast Region, announced Wednesday that she will retire at the end of the year.
The region includes operations in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Lafayette and parts of Georgia and Florida.
Vines said she did everything in her power so she could have the option to retire at 55. “I’m 56 now,” she said. “I’m so blessed to be able to have the resources to be able to retire and now is the time.”
Vines has worked in the telecommunications industry for more than 30 years, starting off as a receptionist for Time Warner Cable in Dublin, Ohio, in 1984.
She started working for Cox in 1992, when she became director of human resources for the company’s New Orleans operations. Three years later, she moved to San Diego and became vice president of human resources.
Vines returned to Louisiana in 2000, when she took over as vice president and general manager for Cox in Baton Rouge. Cox had just taken over the local cable operations from AT&T.
At the time, the cable offices were based out of the old Rebel Shopping Center off Florida Boulevard.
“There were dead rats in the ceiling,” she said. “That’s what it was like.”
About 400 local employees are still with Cox from when Vines joined the local operations.
Cox grew over the years, moving into a $22 million headquarters at the Bon Carré Business Center in 2004. In 2006, Vines led the merger that combined Cox’s operations in Baton Rouge and Lafayette into Cox Greater Louisiana. New Orleans was folded into the market three years later, resulting in Cox Louisiana. Operations in Macon, Georgia; and Pensacola and Gainesville, Florida, were added in 2012, creating Cox Southeast.
Vines said she’s proudest of the Cox Academic Center for Student-Athletes, which opened at LSU in 2002. The center, which contains a lecture hall, classrooms, a library and tutorial rooms, was the first building on campus to be named after a private business.
“It’s a top-of-the-line facility,” she said. “It’s a great recruiting tool for the flagship university.”
Cox officials said they plan to name an interim replacement for Vines. “We look forward to honoring Jacqui and celebrating her years of success at a series of events during the next few months,” Cox said in a statement. “Her legacy will live on in her passion for selfless service to Cox’s employees, customers and communities.”
Vines said she plans to continue living in Baton Rouge with her husband, Leonard Wyatt, a former bank executive, and their six children.
“I have three children I adopted at 48 and I got married at 54; I’ve lived my whole life backward,” she said.
Vines is active in a number of community and civic organizations, including the Our Lady of the Lake Foundation board, the Tiger Athletic Foundation executive board and The Water Institute of the Gulf.
Her plan is to continue being involved in community activities, especially organizations dealing with children or the disadvantaged.
“I have the luxury to really choose to do what I enjoy,” Vines said. “I love my career and I love the company that I represent, but I’m so excited about this.”
Follow Timothy Boone on Twitter, @TCB_TheAdvocate.