William "Bill" Crews
Class Year: 1979, 80, or 81. Let me check in the attic.
Major at MC: Business Administration (Bagpipes and basket weaving interims)
Senior Thesis Topic: "Starting an aircraft dealership"
Current Town/City of Residence: Spartanburg, SC
Occupation: Aircraft sales
Family: Wife of 30 years Melody and two daughters, Megan 23 and Michelle 27, who always keep coming back home.
Describe your career path since graduating from MC.
To back up just a little bit I got my pilot’s license my junior year and I got the aviation bug. My Dad and Mom were both pilots so I had to keep up. Then the summer before I came back for my last football season my Dad and I (his money) bought and sold a couple of airplanes and made a profit. When I graduated my parents were in SD so I headed that way. I really didn’t want to get a job, so my Dad and I concocted the idea of a company that specialized in buying and selling Cessna Skymasters. I then picked them up and delivered them all over the country, getting free places to stay if there was a Maryville friend who lived in that town. I thought I would get enough time to get on with the airline, but sometimes life gets in the way of plans. I liked it too much to make the move and then I got married, and we had kids so I didn’t want to be gone for a week at the time. So, I’m still buying and selling Skymasters and have never regretted not going the airline route.
Describe your typical day in the office.
These days it’s e-mails and phone calls to customers and sellers, checking on the ones in the maintenance shops, buying tickets for the pilot(s), checking weather, and some paperwork having to do with the FAA. I have a customer come in every now and then but I don’t pick the planes up and deliver them much anymore. Whichever pilot picks it up he just takes it to his airport and I sell it from there and he usually delivers it. And I will still fly some trips if it is headed south, or there’s salt water near.
What’s been your most exciting professional experience to date?
There have been so many it’s really hard to narrow down. I guess one that stands out with me is when I had been in business about a year or two I sold one to the Founder/CEO of U-Haul. I had to deliver it to Denver from Sioux Falls and I wore a three piece suit and a tie. I landed in Denver and taxied to the FBO where I was supposed to meet him. In a few minutes a guy came in wearing jogging pants, tennis shoes, and a ragged T-shirt looking for me. It was my customer Sam Shoen. I took him flying and checked him out while he checked all the systems. The autopilot didn’t hold altitude very well so he wanted to hold back $500 for the repair and he would send me the difference. Who was I to negotiate with U-Haul? I found out later that it was a simple fix, about $50. He never did send me the $450, so I wonder if I have a credit at U-Haul if I ever need to rent. Oh, and the moral to this story is......I’ve never dressed up for another customer.
How did your MC experience prepare you for your vocation and/or life?
In college I was real good at cramming the night before the final exam needing a great score to get that coveted “C”. Seems I always managed to do it. So, early on in my business career there were more than a few Friday afternoons when I had a customer in who I had to make the sale to, and get the Cashier’s Check in the bank by 5:00. I always seemed to get it done......So, I learned to perform under pressure at MC.
What are your hobbies? What do you like to do for fun?
I guess flying isn’t a hobby since I do it all the time so I guess playing music is my other hobby/love. I have some great musicians around here that I play out with a couple of times a month. A couple of former Marshall Tucker guys play with me and it’s a blast. I guess that’s my release from the real world (like this other one is the real world) for a few hours.
Since graduating from MC, what has made you the most proud?
So many things, but I was really proud that my two CDs went high on the charts in Europe. I kept checking the mailbox for my royalty checks. There were actually a couple of times we could go out to eat with what came in.
Complete this sentence: My classmates may be surprised to learn that I _____________.
What’s your best memory from your years as a student at MC?
I have so many, so once again where do I start. I loved Carnegie dorm with the box fan in the window in the warm months and kicking the steam radiator to stop making noise during the cold months. I think they condemned it the year after I left, but I’m sure that’s pure coincidence. The best memories have to be with the football team of which a lot of us still stay in touch and act exactly the same when we get together. We had a handicapped student who was in a wheelchair. He had a desktop that he took with him to class that would fit right on top of the wheelchair and he could put his schoolwork on it. He was cool and liked us and we had this idea that his desktop would fit perfectly between four armchairs on the football bus. He didn’t have science class on Friday and he said we could take his desktop with us on road trips. That sure made those road trips go by faster. The camaraderie of the football team has stood the test of time.