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With the confidence Bill gained from his time at community college, he was poised to succeed
Most people wouldn’t expect a high school dropout to one day be managing hundreds of employees and heading up a high-profile division for the State of Florida. Then again, most people don’t know Bill Price.
“It’s a story,” says Bill, who dropped out of high school at sixteen, earned his GED, then backpacked around Europe for six weeks. After returning to his home state of Florida, Bill enrolled in Tallahassee Community College where he connected immediately with the faculty.
“I got to know five of the professors very well,” said Bill who remembers the personal attention more than anything else. “Pre-med biology was the toughest class I took. I think I got a ‘B,’ and it gave me a great deal of confidence to know I’d survived it.”
Bill’s new self-assurance helped him join the honor society, earn his A.A. and transfer to Florida State University.
A far cry from where he started at sixteen, Bill now had the confidence to feel like he had choices. He wasn’t impressed with the four-year school, so after only two semesters, he enrolled in the Air Force.
“I would’ve been the last one you would’ve expected to join the military,” says Bill, who credits his time at community college with opening his eyes to a different perspective on what he could be. During his time in the military, Bill completed nine months of technical computer training. He has worked in technology ever since.
Today Bill is extremely proud of his professional accomplishments. In 1995, he built and launched the internet division for Bell South (now part of AT&T).
“It was kind of like building a space shuttle,” says Bill. He worked seven days a week, 14-18 hours a day, and hired 300 people in 12 months. By the 18-month mark, his team had launched internet services in 20 cities throughout nine states.
“It was the biggest scale thing I ever did,” he says. “And we were successful.”
In his current job as Director of Florida Broadband Programs, Bill continues to feel challenged, which is good because, to him, there are two types of workers – mountain climbers and farmers – and Bill is clearly a mountain climber. “I like a big challenge, and I like to be able to go after it,” says Bill.
While he acknowledges that not all “mountain climber” types will reach the summit on every attempt, he has advice for them: “It’s important to know where you made it and where you didn’t, and it’s OK if you don’t make it. What’s important is that you try.”
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