I started working during my high school years. My dad had taught me a lot of things including the value of reading, listening and doing; but more importantly he taught me work ethics. So, I did each job the way it was supposed to be done and learned as much about it and the inner workings of the business as I could. After high school I decided to attend college. Eastern Kentucky University was my school of choice. After a bit of higher education a wonderful thing happened to me. I met the love of my life and 46 years later she is still the love of my life and the best friend that I have ever had. We now have 2 wonderful children, a son and a daughter. In addition we have 5 fabulous grandchildren and one of the cutest Great Granddaughters you have ever seen. God truly blessed me with a fantastic family.
After a bit more of college and the start of a family I had another wonderful thing happen. I was hired by IBM in Lexington Kentucky. I started working in their plant building typewriters at night and continued to go to college during the day. This worked for a couple of years and then I realized that I could do one or the other, but not both. So I made a decision to continue working at IBM. From my point of view I didn’t just have a job; I had the start of a fantastic career with a great company. I spent the first 9 years working about every type of manufacturing job available in the Lexington plant ending up working in quality control.
After that time God provided another opportunity as I was selected to move into a Customer Engineering position providing support for IBM’s entire line of office products. I quickly realized that customer service was something that I truly enjoyed. I started setting new goals for myself to be the best of the best. To exceed IBM’s customers’ expectations and I was able to do that. I was recognized many time and given opportunities to continue my training on both new products that IBM introduced and more importantly, customer service.
During this period of time Brenda and I, along with the kids, got to spend 8 wonderful years in a small mountain town in southwest Virginia. Norton to be exact. Turned out to be a great place to work and play and raise kids. We got involved with a local church, the pastor was out next door neighbor, so that was kind of a given. I became a Boy Scout Leader which gave me an opportunity to work with the local and area youth. Between weekend and summer camps I probably got to spend 3 months in a tent, sleeping in a sleeping bag. We camped rain or sun, hot or freezing, didn’t matter, if it was scheduled we went.
Based on my customer service focus and technical ability the next door to open was an assignment in Boca Raton Florida supporting the newly announced IBM Personal Computer. After about 7 months in Boca a decision was made to move part of the support organization to Atlanta Georgia. I got to be involved in the move from start to finish. After a few years as a Marketing Support Representative I got the opportunity to do business shows demonstrating IBM PC products to customers and potential customers. Lots of travel and lots of fun. Brenda got to make some trips with me which made them even more fun.
About 3 years of business shows lead to another opportunity. IBM started a new group called the Desktop Software Division. Again customer service was paramount in our new group. What the customer needed, how to sell to them and how to train them on our new products were just some of the challenges I faced. My position as a Marketing Program Manager covered the gambit of these things and many more. As new products went through the development cycle we came up both internal and external sources to produce training videos, plug-ins to enhance the product and all type of sales related collateral. It was fun and very rewarding, but as sometimes happens in business, after 3 years of time and money a decision was made to dissolve the division and it was once again time to move on.
It just so happened that the IBM Help Center need an Advisory Team Lead and I was selected for that position. I thought everything was fine, but 2 years later IBM decided to move the whole center to Raleigh North Carolina. Brenda and I made several trips to Raleigh looking at houses and then something surprising happened. Seemed that if we wanted to stay in Atlanta we could. So, after 27+ years with IBM I was offered an early retirement and after much discussion and prayer, decided to take it.
There had been several business related things that I wanted to try, so I did. Found out that it can be very expensive when you want to start your own business. About the same time that I made this discovery a friend of mine from IBM called me. He wanted to know if I would like to come to work for him as a consultant doing marketing programs for a new PC product that IBM was announcing. I told him I was ready, willing and able. This was on a Friday and he told me that there was only one “little” thing I needed to be sure about. Seems that I would have to leave that Sunday for 2 weeks of worldwide product training. After discussing it with Brenda, I still said yes.
After a couple of years back doing marketing programs another friend called me and asked me if I would like a position as an Advisory Team Lead at a center doing IBM server support. I discussed it with my current manager; he felt that it was a good opportunity and that they were in a great position to let me move on, so I did. Did that for a couple of years and then God opened another door. Seems that the company was going to outsource some of their support. Since I was retired and at the time could not go back to work for IBM I decided to go with the outsourcing company. I kept my same position. The office location did change, it moved about 15 miles closer to my house, nice.
Spent a little over a year as an Advisory Team Lead with the new company and then they promoted me to Site Manager. I now had supervisors who managed over 300 employees reporting to me. About a year later I became an Operations Director for a large Fortune 50 company. This opportunity meant that I had responsibility for over $20 million in revenue, several Site Managers located in different states and approximately 500 total employees. While doing this and looking for ways to improve our customer service I discovered a company called HDI (formally known as Help Desk Institute) which did customer service training. After some discussion on this subject I went to their training classes to become a Certified Instructor. I completed that training along with all of their Support Center classes which give me the ability to teach these classes within our organization. Shortly after completing all of HDI’s training I was moved to the position of Director of Help Desk Quality Management for the US.
Now this was fun. I had the opportunity to train our support center and desktop service staff on how to improve customer service, along with many other skills. In addition I was able to train our management team on important management and business skills. I spent 13 years with this company finishing out my career doing pretty much everything, from transitions, to certifications and training with a bit more time as an Operations Director thrown in for good measure, if it needed to be done I did it.
During this 44 year span of time I had the opportunity to do many different jobs and hold many different positions. I learned the true value of work ethics. I learned the true value of hard work. I learned the true value of team work. I had the opportunity to meet many great individuals both inside the companies I worked for and on the customer side. I had the opportunity to visit many places in this country. In all of my travels, trials and tribulations I got to see good customer service and bad customer service. I understood what was needed to provide the good kind and what had to be improved to move away from the bad kind. It was a fun adventure and as always. . . . The adventure continues!
I hope you have a SUPER Day!!