Hibbett Neel, P.E. (H)
, is a transportation engineer who is the president and CEO of Neel-Schaffer in Jackson, MS, USA. For those who ever wonder if doing the right thing pays off, just talk to Hibbett Neel. I first met Hibbett in Denver, CO, USA at the 1995 Annual Meeting. He is the contrast to my west coast, crazy idea whirlwind, every minute being the even-paced, calm demeanor southern ambassador of ITE. Hibbett’s heart for making a difference in his community and our industry is enormous—he cares for the people around him and is compassionate toward their needs. It started early in his life as an Eagle Scout and serving the county as a captain for the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. His listening nature allows him to be empathic and collaborative, inspiring others to be as passionate as he is about serving others.
I recall a January 2009 ITE Board of Direction meeting where he was listening and—at the same time—sketching. When I asked what he was doodling, he was sketching a portrait of me. The good that has followed Hibbett’s life has touched many people. He’s quick to recognize people’s accomplishments and needs. From seeing the need for minority scholarships in engineering in 1990 (which now have raised more than $300,000 USD), he most importantly built relationships and mentored the participants (awarded a National Diversity Champion recognition in 2004). It’s amazing to see what civic-mindedness looks like through others. His devotion to his community spans various economic development, conservation, education and racial reconciliation groups.
ITE has been fortunate to be part of Hibbett’s professional life. He co-founded the Deep South Division in 1975, served as Southern District President in 1984, sat on the International Board from 1994-1996, and was ITE International President in 2014. ITE recognized him in 2011 with the Burton March Distinguished Service Award and as an Honorary Member in 2018.
Doing the right thing has led Hibbett to a rewarding 52-year career. As an ITE member looking to build similar community accomplishments, his formula is simple, he puts others first. He follows a philosophy of “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” (Winston Churchill). Ask him in New Orleans about hiking, biking, grandkids and his golf game. I’m sure he’ll listen and share with you his commitment to helping Shape Your Community.