Interviewee: Carl P. Talley
Interviewer: Deborah Hendrix
Date: March 13, 2004
H: We're doing an oral history of Carl P. Talley at his home at 2012 Ocean Road on
St. Simon's Island [Georgia]. For the record, Mr. Talley, can you tell us your full
T: [My name is] Carl Patrick Talley, Jr.
H: And where were you born?
T: [I was born in] Montgomery, Alabama.
H: What year was that?
H: Where were your parents from?
T: My dad was from Montgomery, and my mother was from Prattville, which is a
town about twelve miles from Montgomery.
H: So you're a true Alabamian then.
T: Yes, right, several generations, although I moved to Georgia. My dad was with
the railroad and we moved to Georgia when I was two years old.
H: And to where did you move to Georgia?
T: Initially, [we moved to] Thomasville, and then about a year or two later to
Waycross, where I grew up.
H: And you say your dad was with the railroad? What did he do?
T: Yes. He was a conductor.
H: He was a conductor. Did he do that his whole working life?
T: Yes, he retired in Waycross.
H: What was his name?
T: [He was] Carl Patrick Talley, Sr.
H: And your mom, what was her name?
T: [Her name was] Missouri Gipson Talley. Missouri is an unusual first name, but it's
like the state.
H: Was she a homemaker or did she work outside the home?
T: Yes, although she taught. I'm the oldest of five kids, and she taught school after
the youngest went off to grammar school. She graduated from Huntington
College in Montgomery, which I think it's a Methodist [school]. At the time, it was
a woman's college.
H: Which parent do you think had the most influence in your life, your mother or
T: I would say my mother, probably.
H: She encouraged you?
T: Well, she was around a lot.
H: She was just around more, right.
T: When dad would be off on a trip, he would be [gone] overnight often, and maybe
H: She had a big responsibility and just basically kept up the household.
T: Right, and then me being the oldest, she probably leaned on me more than the
other children to help out.
H: Where did you go to college?
T: Well, one thing I failed to mention, for my last two years of high school, we lived
in Tampa, Florida. Dad had a regular passenger train run out of Tampa. We
moved back to Waycross after I was in college because at that time they were
beginning to discontinue all those passenger trains, so he went back to
Waycross. So for that reason, I graduated from Plant High School in Tampa and
went to the University of Florida.
H: Did you travel around, then, since your dad worked for the railroad?
T: Only those three cities that we lived in during his career, and that was a brief time
H: That was enough to indoctrinate you to want to go to the University of Florida.
T: Yes, that and in-state tuition, at that time, was important.
H: When did you attend the University of Florida?
T: [I went to UF] from the fall of 1956 to December 1960.
H: What did you get a degree in?
T: I didn't get a degree at Florida. I went into the Army, I was about to be drafted,
and I'd run out of money and couldn't stay in school. I went into the Georgia
National Guard for six months of active duty. You've heard a lot about the
National Guard during that era. But you had an obligation, and that was the way
I'd fulfill mine. From there I went to Atlanta and finished college at Georgia State
University. I majored in accounting. Georgia State, I found, was a very good
H: You did the two years in the Georgia National Guard, or how many years?
T: Actually, it was six months of active duty, then you had a five and a half year
obligation where you had to attend drills. So I completed my military obligation in
H: How did you get from college to Sea Island? How did you make that route?
T: I met my wife in Atlanta. Her name is Cookie, [and] her maiden name was
Candler. We were married in 1963. I worked in Atlanta for IBM, which was
important; I learned a lot with IBM. I didn't want to leave Atlanta at that time. IBM
used to stand for "I've Been Moved," and my next place to live would have been
White Plains, New York. I went to work for Colonial Stores, which was a grocery
chain that was headquartered in Atlanta. I was a division controller for their
institutional foods division. I'm trying to think about how I ended up at Sea Island.
H: Yes, how did you? How did you make the transition there?
T: We had two couples that Cookie and I knew that were living on St. Simon's. One
was Tom and Marie Dennard. They moved down here in the early 1960s. Tom
and I had been roommates before [we were married]. He got married first, and I
got married a year later. Then my other friend that lived here, [he] had worked
with me at IBM, was Roy Armstrong. He and his wife Francis had moved to St.
Simon's. In fact, both of them lived on East Beach. Roy's wife, Francis, had gone
to high school with my wife Cookie. We came down here for a Florida-Georgia
[college] football game in 1969, and had such a wonderful time and loved the
island so much that we, on our way back from St. Simon's to Atlanta, decided
that we wanted to live on St. Simon's.
I was on a corporate path that required me to work a lot, and we just decided that
it really wasn't worth it to live the corporate life. So the next Sunday, in the
Atlanta Journal Constitution, were two ads. They looked like Tombstone ads. It
used to be in the want ads you could actually find a good job. [laughing] This was
the days before the head hunters had taken over. There was a position at the
Brunswick Pulp and Paper Company for a cost accountant, and the Sea Island
Company was advertising a position for a controller; I sent a resume to both
companies. Both of them sent representatives up to Atlanta to interview me. The
pulp mill offered me the job first, and I had come down to St. Simon's to take a
physical [examination] for the pulp mill. My friend's, Tom and Marie, were
members of the Sea Island Golf Club, and asked me to attend the Christmas
party with them, this was Christmas of 1969, and I did. I was staying with them
when I came down here. At the Christmas party, Eddie Thompson, who is an
executive of the Sea Island Company, walked over to Tom and said, I met a
friend of yours in Atlanta and he turns around and he saw me, and he says, and
there he is.
H: [Laughing.] That's a small little place, isn't it?
T: He said, while you're here, why don't you run over to visit with J. Elliot Brown,
who was the treasurer of the Sea Island Company, because he knew I'd
interviewed for the job. So the next day I went over and saw Mr. Brown, and I
met Bill Jones, Jr., and they offered me the job.
H: Then that was it, and then you're in [laughing].
T: It worked out perfectly. The football game had been maybe the first week in
November, and I went to work for the Sea Island Company on January 19, 1970,
so it seemed to be in the cards.
H: Right, so you're starting off the year with a good job. What did you make when
you first started out?
T: Yes. It seems like it was $13,000 a year.
H: Had you heard of Sea Island before?
T: Yes, as a kid in Waycross, I used to come over to St. Simon's. Later, when I was
in college, I still was going to Florida but my family had moved back to Waycross,
[and] we would come over to hear the Washboard Band. Occasionally, I would
end up out at Sea Island with some friends that I had met. So I knew all about
H: When you first started, did they go over the image they wanted to project?
T: Yes, they had a beautiful brochure that they sent me right after I sent in my
resume. I was very impressed with it and I could see what they were trying to do
just based on that brochure. I later talked to Sig Kaufman, who at that time was
the advertising director, about that brochure, and he said that's exactly what they
are trying to do is to portray an image.
H: What was that image?
T: [They wanted to project a] high level of service, beautiful surroundings, [and] a
family resort. They kept up with the generations of family members in their
H: That's pretty much exactly what I have read recently and it's on their website and
all of that, so that has just been kind of a policy from day one, do you think?
T: I think so.
H: It's transcended the generations and all of that.
T: Yes. The Shorelines publication, which goes out quarterly to guests of Sea
Island, usually emphasizes families that have come to Sea Island and continue to
come, and generations that follow. Also [they emphasize] the employees. They
had a twenty-five year club for employees that had been with the company over
twenty-five years. A high percentage of employees had been there for a long
time, and also, there were several generations of employees that you would see
around the property.
H: That's interesting, I hadn't thought of that. So here you are, we're going to go to
your first day on the job, if you can remember that. Can you remember any of the
stresses or anything that happens to stick out in your mind?
T: Well, the first thing is, the day I went over to interview Mr. Brown, it was in the old
administration building. On the way in, they had introduced me to Captain Lowe
[John T. Lowe, former commander of Glynco Naval Air Station who later worked
in Sea Island real estate sales], who was a retired Navy captain who sold real
estate. He was the only real estate agent Sea Island Company had at that time.
Somehow or another, after my interview with Mr. Brown and he offered me the
job, he wanted me to meet Bill Jones, who was still in his office. Well, somehow
or another I got confused, I walked in Bill Jones' office and there was all this
fishing gear and marine paraphernalia around in the office. For some reason or
another I thought he was Captain Lowe. So I kept wondering, why do they want
me to interview a fishing boat captain, because I didn't realize Captain Lowe's
title was a naval title. I had the nicest conversation with Bill Jones thinking he
was a fishing boat captain. Later I was told he was the president of the company,
but it didn't seem to matter.
H: That is quite a first day on the job.
T: This was the actual interview. The first day on the job, in January, I drove down
from Atlanta, had dinner in Waycross with my parents, [and] drove over to the
hotel. I got there around 10 o'clock at night and they put me in a real nice dorm
room. They called it the double dorm back then. It was a suite of a living room
and a bedroom and of course a bathroom, and I lived there for three months. So I
spent the night there and I got up the next morning, went over to the hotel and
had breakfast in the main dining room alone, and then walked over to the
administration building to report to Mr. Brown, who I'd met at the interview. When
I walked into the accounting department, it was like walking into a museum. They
had these ancient posting machines, and I had not ever used them before, even
though I was an accounting major. They literally had adding machines with a
hand crank on them, and some ancient other gear.
When I walked in to report to duty with Mr. Brown, he was squatting on the floor
sorting city ledger statements. Chits had come in. I thought, my gosh, the
treasurer of the company's [sitting on the floor sorting chits]. That was the way it
was, particularly with Mr. Brown. He was a hand's on treasurer. Of course, I
asked where the computer was, and they said, we don't have one. That started
my career. Mr. Brown took me to lunch that day and we had lunch in the main
dining room. I never had lunch with him again; he always went home for lunch,
and his wife played the piano beautifully. He would spend his lunch hour listening
to his wife playing piano. Unfortunately for him, he also drank a good bit during
that [time]. He usually was very feisty when he would come back from lunch, and
that's when he would call delinquent city ledger holders.
After that day, I would have lunch with Mr. Baumgardner [T. Miesse
Baumgardner, landscape gardner largely responsible for the early Sea Island
landscaping], who was the landscape architect and vice-president of the
company, who had been with the company since the very beginning. He started
in 1927 before the hotel was opened. We would go to the Beach Club, and they
had a buffet. Captain Lowe would join us, and Terry Thomas [activity director],
who was a tournament director at that time, but also a Sea Island cottage owner.
Several others [would also join us]. Mr. Everett, who was assistant manager of
the hotel and very knowledgeable about the history of the area, as well as the
company, [ate lunch with us]. So I learned a lot having lunch with those older
gentlemen who were, I guess, nice enough to include me.
H: So in a way you could say that is how you were trained, by having the lunch [with
T: Yes, I learned a lot about the company. And Mr. Jones, Sr., would occasionally
join us for lunch. Mr. Jones, Jr., the president, would usually go home for lunch;
he had a house on Sea Island.
H: After a few weeks, of course getting over the shock that there's no computer
system and they've got antique adding machines, was there anything that you
discovered that you just didn't expect?
T: That, of course, and the fact that I had envisioned, based on the brochures and
the reputation, a much more sophisticated management team. What it really was,
was people that just dug in. I discovered that Mr. [James] Compton, who had just
recently retired as president, would still drop in at the administration building and
see how things were going. Mr. Jones, Sr., who was the chairman of the board,
would come in everyday and read his mail. They were hand's on managers, and I
had not experienced that. In fact, Mr. Compton, they say, used to take the
inventory of the supplies in the engineering department. That was a shock.
H: That's not what you expected, but do you think that was a good thing overall?
T: Well, they were Depression scarred, you could tell. They had had a tough time
during the Depression [of the 1930s]. Bill Jr. had some ideas about modernizing.
Dewey Benefield was Bill Jr.'s friend from college, I think, who was one of the
younger executives. He was in charge of the real estate operation and the Sea
Island properties. I would say later, when I proposed that we install a computer
system, Bill Jr. and Dewey Benefield were helpful in persuading the older
management that we needed a computer. Mr. [Irving] Harned was the manager
of the hotel at that time, and he was a wonderful innkeeper and host, but he not a
very sophisticated hotel manager. I had never worked in the hotel industry except
as a waiter when I was in college.
H: What kind of a work schedule did you have?
T: Our office hours in the accounting department were 8:30 to 5:30, five days a
week. Particularly after I began the computer installation, [I] worked longer hours,
weekends sometimes. Often at night, I would go over to the King's Shrimp
Company because they had the same computer system that we had ordered,
and got a head start on the installation by having a payroll function programmed
and ready to go when we installed the computer.
H: You were on a salary then?
T: Oh, yes.
H: When I was talking with one of the other interviewees, they said that they had an
H: Did you utilize that at all?
T: The executives could eat in the Beach Club or the main dining room. I lived in the
double dorm for two months until we could sell our house in Atlanta and move my
family down, and I got tired of eating all that fancy food. Occasionally I would
even drive over to Waycross to eat some of mother's cooking. Then later, right
towards the end, I discovered the employee cafeteria. I would go back there to
eat because the food was more of what I was accustomed to as a southerner.
H: Yes, especially fried chicken day. I think that was popular.
T: Oh, yes. Also, I got to know a lot of the employees that were not allowed to eat in
the main dining room or [the Beach Club]. So that helped.
H: The executives, like you, could eat in the main dining room with the guests. Was
that a benefit of the job?
T: Well, I think there was a payroll deduction, and it seems like it was $1 a week. In
fact, when I lived in the dorms for a couple of months, it was $20 a week, and
that included room and board. It was a good deal for me because if I had gone to
work for the pulp mill, I would probably have been paying for rent and having to
pay for my meals.
H: It is a hotel, so they're already set up for that sort of thing. You mentioned the
dorms, were they for employees?
T: At the time I came to work, the double dorm was for seasonal management
people. Like the maitre d' and his wife lived in the double dorm and they were
there for six months in the season, and then another maitre d' and his wife would
come in for the remainder. So they had those facilities. Louise Suggs used to
come and stay in the double dorm when she was at Sea Island; she was a
famous golf pro that taught at the golf club. They had some dorms for hourly
employees; however, they were phasing that out. Within a year or so, we didn't
have any dorms except those double dorms for seasonal management
H: So that's gone. Was that gone by the time you left?
T: Oh, yes, that was gone by the time I left. Although they did use the double dorm
facility for some of the junior staff members. During the summer, the young
college kids that would come work with the junior staff could stay in the dorm.
H: Was that actually in the complex? I'd heard there were some dorms on Rainbow
T: Oh, that goes years [back]; way back. The double dorm was across the street
from the post office. It was the site of the business center. Of course the dorm
was upstairs, it was a two-story building, and down below was the business
H: And the dorms were just regular, nothing fancy about them.
T: Well, the suite I had was real nice and we had nice furniture. Cookie and the kids
would come down, before we sold the house, and spend the weekend. They had
an extra bed that we could put in for the boys. We enjoyed that during that time.
H: I would think they would have to put those dorms in. It's just so isolated, and
really that would be a great convenience to offer people in your position.
T: Before I came, they had dorms for black employees on Rainbow Island, they had
dorms for the females, waitresses and such, and then they had a men's dorm. A
lot of the employees were seasonal. But by the time I came, we pretty much had
a year round staff of wait staff and engineering people and landscapers and
H: That just seems like an unusual arrangement, but I guess it really isn't if you
consider, like you say, they're seasonal, and it saves them the expense of trying
to find a place to rent on the island. Nobody, I assume, would live on Sea Island
that worked there.
T: Except for Terry Thomas, who was a tournament director, but she didn't get a
salary. She just loved being involved in activities and she came to our office
everyday faithfully as if she were being paid a major salary.
H: Did you have an official job title?
T: Yes, I came as a controller, which is the chief accounting officer, you might say.
That was [pretty much it].
H: Did you all have to wear name tags?
T: No. I did wear a coat and tie as an executive, you might say, but no name tags.
H: Can you tell us what your job responsibilities were?
T: Well, the first two years, I made sure the financial statements got out. I spent a
lot of time at the front desk of the hotel. They'd had some turnover and I made
sure the night audit, the transcript, which was the hotel ledger, was in balance.
We had an auditor at the time who was in the accounting department, who was
an elderly gentleman, and he had some health problems. I spent a lot of time
either redoing his work or doing it myself. He was a nice old man and he retired
within a couple years. The other thing I was doing, and it was basically a political
thing, [was to] get the computer installed.
H: How did that come about?
T: I asked Mr. Brown when I first came to work where the computer was, and he
said, we've got one on order. At the time, IBM had a backlog of orders, and
something that was prized by businesses was to have a certain delivery date. So
every time ours would come up for delivery, he would defer it. Of course, IBM
didn't mind because they had plenty of people [who wanted their computers].
After a couple years I discovered that this was the game plan, just to put it off.
H: Now why would he do that?
T: He was afraid of it. He was a brilliant man. He was a Phi Beta Kappa in math, but
he did not [know what would happen].
H: It was intimidating.
T: Yes. And he could not delegate [authority] either; I could not get him to turnover
things. He expected me to do a lot of the manual things. For example, I ended up
doing the engineers inventory that Mr. Compton used to do. They would bring in
these cardex folders and I would sit there and calculate the number of items by
the cost and total up a total inventory.
H: That was by hand.
T: I thought, they didn't hire me to do this. We had clerical people who could have
done it. That's how I met Bob May by the way. He was the clerical person in
charge of keeping the inventory. In fact, he told me that he was saving the
company a lot of money the first time I went over there, and I asked him how. He
said, well, I issue these light bulbs to the engineers to go put into the rooms, and
occasionally they'll bring some bulbs back because they didn't have to use them.
He said, I would not put them back in the inventory, I would just keep them here
in stock. I said, well, Bob, how does that save money for the company?
[laughing] He was never able to explain that to me. It was then that I said, I don't
think this is the guy who should be doing the calculations. [laughing]
H: You were in desperate need of a computer.
T: Yes, we were, and we were doing the financial statements by hand. [We were]
having to sit there and add up these ledger cards on the posting machines that
were old NCR class 32 posting machines. And then, of course, at the front desk
of the hotel, we had the NCR class 42 posting machines, which were the
standard for the industry at that time, but computers were being installed in most
properties. Do you want me to go into the story about how I was able to [get the
H: Yes, how did you get this accomplished?
T: What I did was, I knew that Bill Jones, Jr. was on the board at the local hospital.
They had an identical computer system, an IBM System 3 on order, and they
wanted to take delivery earlier, but they had a delivery date that was out a year. I
convinced Bill Jones that it would be good community relations to allow the
hospital to take our computer, which was coming up soon, and then when the
hospital's delivery came about, we would take that at that time.
H: These are all the same computer systems?
T: [They were the] same identical computer systems. He said, that's a good idea.
He was a hero at the hospital because he had been able to get the system
sooner for them. They thought they needed it at the time. About six months later
we installed our computer system. The other thing that happened was that
Mr.Brown, I would try to tell him that we had to have our people trained to use the
computer. I knew how to program [a computer], but I needed to go to some
classes because I had not used that system myself. I was able to go to some
IBM classes, but I couldn't get him to go, and he insisted that he be trained and
that he could run the computer. He didn't want it to be installed without his
knowledge, but he would defer when I would schedule IBM classes in Atlanta.
Well, I got the IBM marketing representative to come] and Mr. Harned [Irving
Harned], the hotel manager, to allow us to use a room in one of the old dorms
that were being modified for administrative purposes, to conduct a class on-site.
Of course we would provide the room, and IBM would bring their people in to
teach the class. At that time we had people at the hospital, at King's Shrimp, at
Dixie O'Brien Paint Company, and the DeLoach & Company, the auditors,
[with] the same computer system. Also Babcock & Wilcox [was using the
H: The whole community.
T: At that time, yes. So we were able to have this class. Well, Mr. Brown showed up
for the first class and never came back to another one, but I was able to get our
people trained, at least marginally, and then at that point he saw that he was not
going to be able to use the computer, and that's unfortunate. So we had to
accept the computer when it came in because it was technically the hospital's,
and we couldn't defer the delivery.
In the interim, I had been going over at night to King's Shrimp and working with
their computer DP manager. We paid him an hourly rate for working with me. We
had the payroll system ready to run as soon as the computer was installed. The
reason that was important was because we had a weekly payroll, and everybody,
from the president down to the last hourly employee, got paid every week. We
paid the First National Bank twenty-five cents a check for payroll checks. They
were operating as a service bureau. We were paying them twenty-five cents a
check, plus $20 for any report that they ran for us. So when we installed the
computer and were able to run our payroll on our own, we actually almost paid
for the cost of the computer. But at the time IBM had a monthly availability
charge for the computers; you didn't buy one back then as you do now.
H: Like a [computer] rental system?
T: Right. The thing is, they did not unbundle the software or the support. You paid a
fee every month and they had their custom engineers come out and work on your
computers, or system engineers would come out and help you out with the
operating system. They would not provide you with the application software, but
they did give you the operating system and they were very helpful. It was all
bundled into one package. Later IBM unbundled and you had to buy the
computer, you had to buy the operating system software, [and] you had to buy
the service; so everything was [sold separately]. But at the time [it was bundled].
We were able to cover the cost of the computer, practically, just by running that
H: [With] all of these deferrals, [the company] could have been saving money all this
time instead of paying the bank to run your payroll checks.
T: Yes, because we had over 1,000 employees.
H: And this was 1970?
H: [Did ] those early computers have [monitor] screens?
T: What we had was we used punch cards for our input/output. We did have a
typewriter console that you could enter commands to the computer, [and] we had
disks. Some of the earlier computers were all cards, but ours had hard disks and
we had removable disk packs. So we would have our payroll application on one
removal disk pack, and we would fire up the computer and then put the payroll
pack on, pull out a drawer, put in that pack, [and] call in the programs. [We
would] feed in the time cards, for example, hourly data from cards that had been
H: Were they keypunched by the employees from the time stations?
T: We had a high school student come in the afternoons, initially, on one of those
work programs, and she keypunched the data for the payroll for us. By the way,
her name is Katie Hibler. She works at the hospital now, and she became a
full-time employee. She met her husband at Sea Island. He was with the
company from 1970 until just recently.
[End of side A1]
H: We're talking about the computer and how it transformed your office into
something more modern.
T: Yes. After the payroll, we decided to put accounts payables on the computer
because we were using these ancient class 32 posting machines. The
unfortunate thing about it was that if somebody transposed a number or turned
the card around, you would be out of balance. The girls in the office would
literally spend hours on an adding machine trying to get accounts payables in
balance. The same thing applied to general ledger. One lady posted the
vouchers [and] another lady posted the check writing. The lady that posted the
check writing had some kind of physical problem and she had a propensity for
transposing numbers, so we were constantly out of balance. A wonderful
employee named Lucille Drew, she was several years older than me and
treated me like her son, was the accounts payables person. Being older and all, I
anticipated problems, [but] she was all for it and I taught her how to keypunch.
We ran parallel for one month. Of course we had to write the programs to do the
accounts payables, but we got a package that IBM had available. It was
inexpensive and King's Shrimp used the same package; we just modified it for
our needs. When we ran parallel that one month, at the end of the month--we
were out of balance with the class 32 posting machines--[but we] finally got it in
balance, then I showed Lucille the number that we balanced to from the
computer and it was dead on.
H: I bet you smiled on that day.
T: I could have kissed her. She was so intent on getting that thing right. We had
somebody verify, that's something that you did back in the keypunch days is a
second operator would come on to verify. Plus you ran what we call hash totals.
That's when you ran your edits for your data input. So with the computer system
you always stayed in balance [because] you had to; you couldn't enter anything
unless it was in balance. But anyway, that was so great. That convinced Mr.
Brown that this computer could be used for other things. He became a little more
interested in using the computer and he would run back into the office. Oh, that's
another story. We had the computer in, basically, a closet in the old
administration building. It was very tight quarters, but we were able to get it in.
Mr. Baumgardner had sacrificed one of his rooms where he had his architects do
their drawings; he had given us some space so we could get the computer in. Mr.
Brown would come back in there, and he didn't know what was going on, but
they had these little lights that blinked on and off on the computer. He would just
put his face up to the lights and go, what's happening, what's happening?
H: While it was calculating?
H: That sounds like it was a major step forward then.
T: Right. Then the next problem, we decided to put the city ledger, which is
accounts receivable, on the computer. It required us to assign a number to every
city ledger account. In the past, the guests would sign a chit, and the girls in
accounting would take that chit and read the signature and determine what
account to post that charge to. Often they would have some chits leftover where
they couldn't identify the signature, particularly if it came from the club rooms at
night and the guest had had a few drinks, or if they had one of those local
functions where the local people would come over and use the club rooms and
have a few drinks. They signed chits, but they didn't have an account. What the
accounting department would do is, figure out who's signature it was, go to the
phone book, look up the name and the address, and send them a city ledger bill.
So in order to open a city ledger account at Sea Island, somebody in Brunswick,
[Georgia] all they had to do was to come over, sit down [and] order a drink or
order something, and sign their name. They couldn't go to the Beach Club, but
they could go to the main dining room or to the club rooms or to the golf club.
H: So just based on a signature, this is how they're billed?
T: Yes, that's right.
H: Now that's a far cry. Of course, that predates credit cards and all that by a great
T: But Mr. Jones, Sr. did not like the idea of assigning an account number to our city
ledger guests. These were primarily the cottage owners and a few local people
who belonged to the golf club or the tennis club. We had country club dealing,
which meant that those chits were mailed back along with the statement every
month. I told them that we had to have a number to apply to the account for the
computer to distinguish between the accounts, but we didn't have to require them
to use the number. I said, I would like to have a card to issue to them just in case
they would like to carry it around. So for the first few months after we installed the
city ledger system, the girls in the office would go through the daily charges,
chits, they called them, and write the account number on there if the guest had
not done it himself or herself. Well, it turns out that most of the people liked
having the card, they liked having the number, because they were not getting
billed for somebody else's chits very often. Sometimes they all had guests, their
house guests, [and they could tell them] to use that number. So it worked out all
right, but it was a major consideration. The old management didn't want to ask
somebody to put a number down.
H: Right, because that represents a change from their image.
T: And they thought that the guests would not like that, but it turns out it was not a
problem at all.
H: I think that's happened on several other types of things over there.
T: Oh, yes. Anyway, we later installed the general ledger; we put that on the
computer. Then later we put the hotel system, which meant the front desk, check
in/check out, reservations, [all on the computer]. We had an extensive mailing list
of 25,000 names of guests who we mailed our quarterly publication to. Those
were on those metal plates, I've forgotten what you called those things now, but
you had a machine that would stamp those metal nameplates.
H: Like a credit card type of surface, but it was metal?
T: Yes, it was embossed and it was metal.
H: That's how you did that then.
T: So we had a lady, Peggy Wilson, who worked in advertising, and every quarter
she would stamp out those. Of course when she had additions or changes, she
had to do it on a metal plate. They were stacked in these things. When we put
that on the computer, that saved a tremendous amount of time.
H: Oh, I bet.
T: Well, for example, we also used those plates for time cards. So every week she
used to take these time cards for 1,000 employees and stamp their name on it
and distribute it to the time clocks. Of course then we got the computer, [and] we
printed [them]. We had a continuous form that brushed the time cards, and
Peggy just loved that because that was a weekly task of stamping out those
H: You could get Carpal Tunnel Syndrome from something like that back then.
T: That was a big, old, loud, noisy machine too. Cuh-clink, cuh-clink. So anyway, as
a result of all of that, I got so involved in the computer that we created a position
for me, and I became the director of management services. A lot of companies
call that M-I-S or management information systems. They now call it I-T,
H: Is that the position you left with then?
T: No, but I held that position for several years. I guess [it was] from about 1974
until 1992. We had a controller that took over after I took the other position, but
they decided he had some problems and they had to let him go. So [in 1992],
they gave me back the controller job and title, I don't know why, but I still had
responsibility for the MIS, the information department, and accounting, as well as
they gave me the telephone operation and the business center, which was a
relatively new thing. But of course I had much more staff back then. Later, and I
hired a very capable IT executive, we split IT away from accounting, which is
where it should have been. Then right before I retired, we created another
position. Oh, I was [also] responsible for budgeting, operating budgets and
capital budgets, in my controller's capacity. So we created a position and I took
the title of director of budgeting and financial planning.
H: I tell you, you're just indispensable over there.
T: Well, it reflected the change. One other item I forgot to mention is, besides
asking Mr. Brown where the computer was when I first came, I also asked if I
could see the operating budget. He said, we don't have one. [laughing]
H: No budget?
T: And it wasn't until sometime in the 1970s, and that was after Ted Wright [Edward
Truman Wright, Jr.] came on as the hotel manager and Dennie McCrary came on
as the financial VP, that we had an operating budget. We started a capital budget
process in the early 1970s when Charlie Hayes [Charles W. Hayes] came on as
the purchasing director. He handled the capital budget accounting good until
H: How did they manage, then, without a budget?
T: They compared each month's financial performance with the previous years. Of
course that has all kinds of problems because weather could have been different;
certain situations [could have been different].
H: You would think it would be hard to budget for anything new, like for building a
T: Well, that's the capital budget. Charlie Hayes, he had been the purchasing
agent at Emory [University], and he came to work about the same time I did. In
fact, we were dorm buddies for several months until he sold his house in Atlanta
and moved. He was an older gentleman, in fact he was my father's age, but he
created a new purchasing operation for Sea Island. He was in charge of the
capital budget, and that was really a major need.
H: So you're bringing them into the twentieth century then.
T: Yes. But you know, the thing is, is because the employees were so dedicated to
what they [were doing], and they knew [what they needed]. They didn't need an
operating budget; they just knew what was necessary to provide [their needs].
The maitre d', for example, made sure he had plenty of staff, but he didn't overdo
[it]. He was not held accountable for holding down expenses, but they were
mostly people that were very conscientious. Nearly all of the managers of various
departments, and I can remember them all now, certainly weren't MBA's [held
Masters of Business Administration degrees] or anything, but they knew their job.
They understood what the guests needed and what top management needed.
H: It really has an atmosphere, like you say, of a family, and every family member
knows their function very well. That might account for some of the resistance of
having the computer; it'll come in and maybe change the dynamics of this, and
that might be something they were afraid of then.
T: One thing that I did, Mr. Brown never left the accounting department. He would
go home for lunch. Early on, every morning, we had somebody in accounting go
around and clear all the cash registers. These were the old fashioned, plain old
manual cash registers. [We would have them] pull the tape off and close it out for
the day and that sort of thing. I would go with him, in fact I did it when he was on
vacation, and I got to know the people in the various areas. Then occasionally I
would just go over to the employee cafeteria and make a point to sit with
somebody that was involved. I could see, when it was time to install the computer
and where it affected that particular department, I would know who I was dealing
with. I'd know what the objections would be, and anticipate them, and [I could]
have an answer. Usually we developed a relationship too.
H: They trusted you.
T: Right, it was important that they know that I wasn't going to do away with their
job. You'd hear that quite often.
H: It's something to be wary of, getting yourself out of a job [by endorsing new
T: We had a few years there in the early 1970s, when the oil embargo [and all that
was going on], [where] things were pretty tough nationally.
H: You are answering a lot of my questions here before I get a chance to ask, so we
must have the flow right here. Now, I guess, that answers all the job specifics
unless you have anything you wanted to add about changes. When you left, the
computer system was shifted over to the IT department. That had all changed,
I'm sure, drastically, with the [introduction of] personal computers.
T: Right, I'll kind of go through it. We started out with the punch card equipment,
which is really ancient. You had, for example, a line printer that printed pretty
fast, and you printed on the continuous computer paper that was that wide. So
you would have these green line reports. But you could only run one application
at a time on that computer, so often you would be print bound. You could run the
payroll, but you had to print the payroll register and the rosters [and all that], so
you'd sit there just waiting on this printer to finish so that you could use the
computer for something else. So then, I guess the late 1970s, we installed an
IBM System 34, which had screens, terminals. They called them CRT screens,
cathode ray tubes. It was an interactive system as well; you could have many
things going on at once, and we put computer terminals in various strategic
places. [We] didn't have that many initially, and we still had a lot of data entry that
was punch card. We later went to diskettes, we converted, so that the data entry
was done into a diskette and you could run a batch operation with diskettes. At
some point, close to 1980, maybe 1983, we installed an IBM System 38, which
was a tremendous improvement over the System 34, and it allowed data entry to
be made directly into the computer system.
H: Without punch cards, that sort of thing.
H: The paper is going.
T: Right. You could enter data on the System 34, but you had to sort your data files.
You could enter data on the CRT screens, but you had to run a batch sort before
you updated the records, whereas with the System 38 it was all done
interactively. Then the System AS 400 was installed in 1990, and that's what they
have right now. That has been a real work horse, but it, of course, has had all
kinds of changes since the initial installation. Almost every desk has a PC
[personal computer] on it so that you can enter data into the AS 400 or you can
work with your PC and they are integrated. It's just a totally different world now.
H: But basically you stayed with IBM, then, all the time. You stayed with that
operating system and that whole network of software and support.
T: Right. When you're in a remote area like we're in, it's hard to get anybody else to
service your systems. Plus, that particular system fit our needs.
H: I think it is important to record something like that [transition to new technology].
That represents a change in the way they're looking at themselves. They had to,
I guess, [but] they resisted it quite a few times.
T: But once it was [in], we did very well. We didn't plow a lot of new ground, but I
had good relations with other summer hotel properties: The Breakers down at
Palm Beach; one of my best friends was in the same position I was in, the
Greenbriar up in West Virginia. [I] got to know some people at Amelia Island
Plantation, and [also] out west, the Broadmoor. We all used the same IBM
systems, and most of us used the same software. So we could share a lot, and
we did. We got together quite often and exchanged knowledge and information;
that helped a lot. Now even today, there's still some of that going on among
those properties, although some have changed.
H: [They would ] share a mailing list.
T: I'd forgotten about that, but that was important that we [collaborated]. And it was
nice [because] I could take Cookie down to the Breakers at Palm Beach and she
could walk around like she was one of the Palm Beach elite. And I would go out
to the Broadmoor.
H: I think we'll shift gears here a little. I want to talk about social changes you might
have seen in the company. I wanted to ask you first, when you first started in
1970, did you see any remains or vestiges of segregation within the company?
Were there different eating facilities [for instance] for African-Americans?
T: It was such a family atmosphere, that the older southern whites still had the
same prejudices that they had been born and raised with. But the interaction
among employees: you had a tendency to have an almost all-white engineering
department, for example, where you had carpenters and these trades people
who were predominantly white. Whereas in landscape crews, you had
predominantly black people with white supervision. So you could see [the effects
of segregation]. [In] housekeeping you had porters who were nearly 100 percent
back, whereas the housekeeping maids, females, were some white and some
black, mostly black though.
We had a lady named Ethel Camp, who's retired, but she was in housekeeping
and was the supervisor. I was trying to establish job codes for every position to
put in the computer, and she had these [things], I can't remember exactly what it
was, but I said, these people do the same thing yet they're different jobs. She
said, well, that's because one is female and one is male. I said, oh, okay. I said,
well, what about race, do you have any codes [for that]? She said, well, we used
to, but we don't anymore. Apparently somebody had [gotten rid of] that. But you
still had that [difference in job description].
H: You still had the male/female job qualifications.
T: I've grown up in the South, so I recognized all of that, but I also saw that
everybody worked together. That was the big thing.
H: So there really wasn't any kind of conflict then that you could see.
T: No. You would have absolutely no black supervisory people. Later, we, and I
mean, management, made a concerted effort to do that and to develop from
within some black management people. It was difficult. You not only had to
overcome the traditional prejudices, but you had black folks that didn't want to be
supervised by other blacks; there was some resistance to that. Possibly it could
have been just envy or something. Anyway, it was not a major problem. The
same thing is true of labor unions. In Atlanta, I had been exposed to some really
difficult labor situations where you had union people who ...
H: Would come in and try and stir things up maybe.
T: Right, and also make it difficult for management. It was almost like an adversarial
relationship between labor and management. It shouldn't have been, but it was.
[But] at Sea Island, I never ran into that.
H: So no labor unions ever tried to come in?
T: I think at one time some of these engineering employees, I don't think they tried
to form a union, but I think they tried to organize and make things difficult for the
management. But that was cut short; I can't remember how.
[End of side A2]
H: The turbulent 1960s, then, really didn't penetrate anything. When you first
started, there wasn't any kind of conflict that you heard about?
T: Not that I was aware of. I guess I was probably, among the management people,
probably one of the most liberal, which is not too far to the left because it's Sea
Island. But having grown up among black folks, I had a good relationship [with
them]. It also had to do with that business of just walking around and getting
accustomed to what people did and how we could improve or automate with the
computer. It's surprising that there was not more [conflict], because it was run
like a plantation. One thing I noticed is, Billy Gibson [personnel director] had
come in right before I did, maybe a couple years earlier, and had established a
credit union. Before that, the loan sharks just literally hounded our black
employees particularly. Billy grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, and occasionally
would say things that I would say, I can't believe that the head of human
resources-of course we called it personnel then-is making statements like that.
But you knew that he had that view, but he also wanted to help the employees,
particularly the black employees.
H: Well, since you brought up the credit union, you're saying that the credit union,
was founded to help [African Americans]?
T: [It was] to help the employees. One thing I found [was] that Sea Island's wages
and hourly rates were really low when I first came, particularly in those areas like
landscape laborers. I mean, [their rates were] really low. These were the people
that were, unfortunately, being abused by the loan sharks and whatever. They
couldn't go to a bank back then. That's a vestige of the old days; you never saw
a black man walk into a bank when I was a kid unless he was sweeping the floor.
So they were victims of these loan sharks, and the credit union was a
tremendous improvement. Lots of employees own homes now; they couldn't
have possibly gotten a mortgage from a commercial or savings and loan bank.
H: Do you remember when the credit union was started?
T: It must have been in the late 1960s. I came in 1970, and it was probably about
1968 or 1969 because Billy [Gibson] came probably in 1967 or so, and that was
one of the first things he did. Again, Mr. Brown, the treasurer, resisted it. The
reason he did though is because he had been personally looking after a lot of
employees himself. They would come to him for advice, and he resented, I think,
[their stepping in]. If you think about it, we were young people back then; I was
thirty-one when I came. There was a tendency to resist change and modern
ways of doing things. That's one area, if you interview Billy, you might get him to
expand on that.
H: I'm glad you brought up the credit union. I'm not clear on how the credit union
operates. Is it financed by Sea Island, or do they put the money up at the bank?
T: At the time, the banking laws were that you could form a credit union, but it was
not part of the company, and the members had to be employees of the company.
In reality, Billy ran the credit union and the human resources department, and
you'd never know one form the other. He spent a great deal of his time [doing
both]. The credit union has really grown, and the banking laws have changed too.
I still have a credit union account.
H: It really sounds like it was a very good deal for the laboring crowd there over on
T: That's right, for home ownership particularly.
H: As far as you know, it was run pretty fairly?
T: Yes. Billy's heavy handed; he would have his minions on the board. In fact, when
I first came, he asked me to be the audit supervisor. I did an audit and found
where he had given a loan to his wife, who was not an employee, and it violated
the [rules at that time], [so] I brought that up. Of course, he got around that by
putting her on the payroll, even though [she didn't work]. This was way back, this
was maybe the first year I was there, [and] maybe he sensed that he had
somebody that wouldn't go along with his needs or dictates, so I was never
asked to serve again. That was fine with me; the last thing I want to do is audit
somebody's credit union, I had my hands full. Most of the time they were
handpicked people on the [board]. Now right towards the end, the top
management decided we needed to have more involvement from top
management people who would not just be...
H: Somebody who would agree without [questioning]; follow the consensus.
T: But on balance, I give him a lot of credit for bringing that about with lots of
H: It's too bad that it couldn't be broadened to the other African-Americans of the
community, because they didn't work for the company. I wonder how the other
banks felt about that. Do you think they felt like they were losing business?
T: No, because they weren't doing any business with them anyway. Probably now
they wished that they had made more of an effort, but on the other hand, most of
the banks nowadays aren't interested in the consumer accounts; they're more
H: There's one question here I was going to ask you about, did you feel like you
could walk into like Bill Jones' office anytime you wanted?
T: Yes, I could, and Mr. Jones, Sr. He was a good guy.
H: Now here's something that might be humorous you can address this. In the
literature I read that the Cloister, or Sea Island, didn't want to put TV's in the
room. Was that a big issue? What was behind that philosophy?
T: Initially, of course, they didn't have TV's, and the expense of putting TV's in the
room might have been a concern, but I don't think that was it. I think they took the
position, management did, I know Mr. Harned did, is that you're here for a
vacation at a resort where you don't want to be in your room with a TV. You know
we've talked about how nice the weather was, and what a wonderful complete
group of activities we had for just about anybody, particularly a family; children,
older adults, golfers, tennis players, swimming, stables. When it got to the point,
and I can relate to this [because it was] probably my generation, where when you
woke up in the morning you would turn on the TV to find out the news and
weather before you started your day, [we needed to switch]. People were coming
down to the public rooms downstairs, the Spanish Lounge or wherever, and [they
would] have their coffee and watch the Today Show or whatever morning
program [was on]. Lots of them, we did a guest survey back in the 1980s, and we
found that a lot of people were requesting a TV in the room. A lot of them said
just the opposite; they loved it that they were in a place where you didn't have
one. The decision was that we needed them, but if we're going to put them in
there, we've got to put them in an armoire so that they would not be seen by
those that didn't want it. Well, the armoires were expensive; a lot more expensive
than the TV. So there was a commitment to follow the guest survey, which I
thought was good. We relied a lot on those surveys.
H: You used surveys, then, and you paid attention to those surveys.
T: You have a group of guests that are loud [and give their opinion], but then you
have a lot of guests who never say a thing, but they will answer a survey. So you
do need to conduct those things.
H: That's important that you brought that up because they are more or less deciding
what the guests need, but in reality, there is a feedback from the survey.
T: Yes, right. It was done by Mel Reed's group down in Jacksonville. They also,
shortly after I came, began sending management employees to have their heads
shrunk as they used to say. [They had them] go through this battery of tests and
do some team building. Those came later, after Bill Jr. pretty much took over. Bill
delegated to Dewey and Dennie McCrary and Ted Wright. Ted ran the hotel,
Dewey ran the Sea Island Properties, and Dennie ran the financial end of the
business. That's when we began doing some things like that.
H: So it was a change in management style?
T: Yeah, I would say that all started around 1980. We actually had operating
budgets and a computer [laughing].
H: Little things like that.
T: You had the same sense of urgency among the operating managers in every
area. They wanted to make sure the guests were taken care of first, and they
also seemed to care about their employees. You probably had some that didn't
fit, but otherwise it was basically like that.
H: Here's a question I know you'll be able to answer very well since you were in the
payroll. Were there any times during your thirty years that they had occasion to
lay people off, maybe for financial reasons?
T: Not until, like I mentioned, when Bill III came along and began to run the place.
We always took pride, and he does and his father did and his grandfather did, in
the fact that we had these long serving employees. The Twenty-five Year Club is
very important to them, and recognizing those people [is important]. But on the
other hand, you have some dead wood, and when you have changes, these
people can't change with the times. So there was a period, and I'm trying to
remember when, when they had just this layoff of some people, and lots of them
were mid-management people that were probably not performing in the view of
the top management. But as far as the line employees, you didn't have anything
like that, that I'm aware of, and I'm trying to remember. There may have been
some that were effected by that kind of purge that went on.
H: There was at least one that happened.
T: Within this past year, because they tore down the old hotel building and have
fewer rooms, they made an offer, and it applied to anybody that had been with
the company for twenty years or longer: they gave them a retirement that would
allow them to take a full retirement. It was a good opportunity and quite a few
employees took advantage of that. Some of that was designed, again, to trim out
some dead wood I'm sure, but on the other hand, there was a need to do that.
H: But it wasn't really that common is what you're saying.
T: Oh, no. In fact, that was important that we keep a year-round staff even though
we had some slow times in the winter. We discussed it in management,
particularly when I was in budgeting, about scheduling your vacations at times
when the occupancy was low. We made that a management responsibility to do
that so that we didn't have to have layoffs.
H: It seems that just falls along with the concept of having a family kind of
T: Yes, exactly.
H: To treasure that.
T: I do remember, we had a deal, and you'll need to talk to Billy Gibson or Rick
Shellnut if you've got him on your list, he was involved in human resources for
twenty-five years or so, where if an employee wanted to take time off, we could
make it so they could draw unemployment and more or less grease the track for
them so they could do this without. ..
H: They could do it without having to quit.
T: Right, but I think it was voluntary. You really do need to interview Rick Shellnut.
H: When I was talking with Mr. May, he said that [during] off-season that people
would take that option, I think what you were just describing, and they would go
ahead and be laid-off and be paid unemployment, but that would not detract from
their total length of service.
T: No, that's right.
H: So even though they were technically laid off, the company did not consider that
[accumulated length of employment] to be gone and make them start from zero
T: Right. One thing we did do towards the end of my career is, we started relying
more on part-time employees, [and] a lot of that has to do with the cost of
benefits. I think if a part-time [employee] averaged thirty hours a week, they
would be entitled to full benefits. So even though you might be designated
part-time, if you actually were somebody that had a position or you were the type
of employee that the management wanted to work [for them], then you could
actually take advantage of the benefits.
H: There's one more before we get into these last few questions here, because
you've already actually answered a lot of these. The big stir [in the area] now is
the G-8 Summit coming up in June. I was going to ask you about how you think
Sea Island views that?
T: Yes. It's funny, this comes from Bill Ill. If his father had been [there still], he would
not have wanted it.
H: Is that right?
T: I don't think he would want the hassle and all that. But Bill is more image
conscious, and he sees that as free advertising for the property. [It's] just like the
golf tournaments that we've never had before. That's just a difference in the
father and the son. I think Bill, to a certain extent, has a need for recognition and
image for the place, whereas his dad was much more laid back and preferred to
kind of let things go as they were.
H: The [G-8 Summit] will definitely put Sea Island on the map now. We all hope that
nothing bad comes of it protesterss, etc.].
T: It's going to be an imposition. I remember when Jimmy Carter [U.S. President,
1977-1981] was elected, and he stayed at Musgrove [privately-owned estate on
St. Simons Island, Georgia], but before he went into office, he took his new
Cabinet, all the cabinet members, and they stayed in these rooms we had over
on the ocean side, but they were more like cottages. They were not on the
ocean, I forget what we called them, but they were brand new. They had one of
the morning programs in the solarium. [They] originate from Sea Island. I
remember walking over from the parking lot to my office, and I saw this guy. I
said, I've seen that man before somewhere, and it was James Schlesinger [U.S.
Secretary of Energy, 1977-1979]. I think he was in the department of energy or
defense; but I've seen him since on TV programs. Then [I saw] somebody else;
anyway, I saw quite a few recognizable faces. Then I watched that program and
they had Jimmy Carter sitting there with his Cabinet all around him. But during
that time, and particularly when he would come down here, you would have the
security people block traffic to allow a vehicle to go through. Then when
[President George W.] Bush #41 [1989-1993] would come, while he was in office,
you would have the same thing.
H: There are really quite a number of well-known people that have come through
over the years. It's just a matter of scale [for addressing security issues], I guess.
T: Of course the difference is that security with both President's Carter and Bush,
who were in office at the time [of their visits], the security would extend beyond
Sea Island. With this G-8 [Summit], first of all, you've got eight various
governments with their own security needs, and the fact that they have, in the
past, had these demonstrations and things happen. Cookie and I have a place on
the Satilla River; we'll probably spend that week at the river.
H: I've heard a lot of people say they're going to be gone those few days of the G-8
T: [It's] not that I'm afraid of anything, it's just the inconvenience of having traffic
backed up or stopped.
H: Like you say, [of] Bill Jones, III, he's seeing the whole operation as a need to be
more recognized nationally than previous generations, [who] really were
treasuring the exclusiveness and the isolation.
T: Exactly. A lot of the so-called celebrities that came to Sea Island came because
there would be no recognition, no autograph people around or anything like that,
and it was known as a place where the clientele would not need to have
somebody's autograph [because] they would see them on the same level. Again,
I think I mentioned the difference in the way the Mobil [Travel Guide] and AAA
rate properties, it's just a generational change. This is a generation of people
who don't even know what good service is because they've never been exposed
to it or seen it.
H: I was going to ask you about the Sea Island tradition. Is that a definable thing
that you could tell about?
T: Well, it's just a traditional place. That was our product, tradition. People bragged
about how often they had been coming, the older guests would talk about this. I'll
give you a good example. Here I am, sixty-five years old, [and] when I came, I
would go down to the club rooms, my wife and I, after dinner. They played the
waltzy music from my folks' generation [in the clubs]; no rock 'n' roll. The product
was tradition, but those things changed to go along with the generations. [Here's
a] funny story [from when] Nancy Butler was the activities director; this was just
a few years ago. She had hired a group, a combo, to play rock 'n' roll on a given
night in a given location as an alternative for the younger clientele. After all, the
Big Band Era, those people are dying off; even if they wanted to dance they
couldn't unless they did it with a walker. She wanted some management people
to come listen to the group, so she got me to come because she knew I liked
rock 'n' roll from way back, a couple other guys, and then [she] got Ted Wright,
who was the hotel manager at the time. Now Ted is two years older than me, so
he's not that much older. They played "Mustang Sally." You know how "Mustang
Sally" goes, "ride, Sally, ride." Ted thought they were talking about Sally Ride the
astronaut. He said, why are they singing about Sally riding? I said, no, [that's not
it]. You see, there were some people in management that weren't quite keeping
up [with the time].
H: That is funny.
T: I guess when he was at Cornell [University] they didn't have rock 'n' roll; that was
a northern school.
H: We're almost done here. Looking back, one of the questions I have is, what do
you think was your biggest accomplishment in your work? It's probably the
T: Yes, bringing about change. I was very much involved in the operating budget. In
fact, by then I had already had the computer installed, and we had to use the
computer to produce the working work papers for budgeting. Between the
computer system and the operating budget, those were kind of my babies, and
H: And conversely, was there anything that was your biggest challenge over the
years that persisted, or was it just the challenge of trying to overcome the
resistance of getting that computer [installed]?
T: No, I [mean], that obviously was a challenge to get people to change. I'm trying
to think if there was anything.
H: Was there anything that persisted over the years that you just couldn't resolve?
T: Let me think.
H: There must not have been.
T: No, I can't think of anything. Nothing really stands out.
H: If there was, you could get it addressed.
T: Yes, I don't have a bee in my bonnet about anything.
H: Suppose your children wanted to apply for a job or work at Sea Island as a
career, would you think that would be a good idea?
T: Yes. Both of my sons worked there in all kinds of positions as they grew up.
H: So they already did work there.
T: My youngest son graduated from Georgia State with a degree in hospitality
management. He worked for the Ritz Carlton, and he's now with the Savannah
International Trade and Convention Center as the operations manager. That's
not a hotel, but the G-8 really effects his operation. That's where the press will
stay and be, at the Savannah Trade Center.
H: Actually, he was probably influenced then by your connection with Sea Island.
T: Yes, he came up. My oldest son went to Atlanta and worked for the Omni Hotel,
and I'm sure both of them were able to get jobs in Atlanta because of their
Cloister experience. But Scott was an outdoor guy, he loves hunting and fishing,
so he went back to college and just got a master's degree in wildlife biology. He
works down in Florida in Lake City at the Florida Department of Natural
Resources, but it's in the wildlife conservation area.
H: Is there anything you would like to add that we didn't cover?
T:  can't think of a thing, Debbie. Would you want me, I know you're in kind of a
time constraint yourself, if I think of anything that I think [may help, to let you
H: Certainly, I'm just a few blocks away, and you've got my number.
T: Okay, well, I may do that. I think I mentioned Dave McClean, Andy Owens, and
Rick Shellnut as people that I worked very close with in my career, and I think
you might get a good overview [from each].
[End of the interview.]