When Bill Smallwood started working for Home-Tech in 1985, there were only six employees and two vehicles. Bill recalls the early days with fondness and nostalgia. He would run service calls and founder/CEO Steve Marino would handle air conditioner installations. “The company started in 1981 out of Steve’s house, but by the time I got there, we had a little office down on Youngquist Rd. in Fort Myers. We had a Dodge Van and a Ford Van,” he remembers. “They weren’t quite as fancy as what we’ve got now, but they got the job done.”
Originally, from Washington D.C., Bill arrived in Southwest Florida with his two young sons when he was 39 and working as a ticketing agent for various airlines. First, he tried living on the east coast, “It didn’t impress me much,” he says. Bill had an aunt and uncle who lived in Fort Myers and when the first time he came over to visit them, he says, “I fell in love with the area right away – I decided that this was where I wanted to be.”
It turns out that airline work wasn’t very stable. “I started with National, and like that outfit, most of the ones I worked for either went out of business or sold out,” he says. “With kids to support, I knew I had to get into another line of work.”
When he heard that a new appliance and repair company called Home-Tech was growing quickly and hiring new employees, he thought it would be a good fit. “I’d done some appliance repair in my younger days and I’d always liked it.”
Bill got the job and it was the beginning of a career that the 72-year old sees no signs of ending anytime soon. Bill is a call dispatcher every night and Sundays with only Saturdays off and he wouldn’t have it any other way. He also calls Home-Tech customers to discuss parts on order that need approval. He can technically do almost anything with his knowledge.
“I love my job, I love my company,” he says smiling. “Why, I was at the doctor’s today and she started talking about her air-conditioner giving her trouble. I told her about Home-Tech and how great our Service Agreements are and I just couldn’t stop talking about it. She told me I was ‘passionate’ about my job – and that’s the truth – I am.”
In his spare time, Bill, who is single, stays busy with his two grown sons, seven grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren with another one on the way. The family legacy continues, as Bill’s son Gregory is a technician at Home-Tech.
Honored with 30 Years of Service Award
At Home-Tech’s annual holiday party this past year, Steve Marino called Bill, “One of the cornerstones of Home-Tech.” And according to Bill, the feelings of respect and gratitude are mutual. “For my 5th anniversary I was given a gold lapel pin, and every 5 years since, I’ve been given a gift by Home-Tech to mark my anniversaries,” says Bill. “This year it was a beautiful plaque and a nice bonus for my 30th. I think that’s why so many of us have stuck with Home-Tech for so long. The passion starts from within the company and makes its way out to our customers.”
Bill says he really appreciated being recognized and lauded at Home-Tech’s holiday party, “I just wonder what they’re going to do for my 35th anniversary,” he says proudly. “Only five more years!”