Bringing Opportunity to Rural America | The Story of Will
June 24, 2022
Continuing the series of conversations with our employees about their experience here and why they enjoy coming to work everyday.
A: How long have you been with Provalus?
W: I started in 2019 as General Manager at Provalus. This focused solely on operations at Provalus. About a year ago I was promoted to Vice President of Facilities + Operations at Optomi Professional Services, which is my current role.
A: How did you come to work at Provalus?
W: I came out of economic development. I was an executive director for a 5 county Economic Development Alliance here in our rural area. I was contacted by Chuck Ruggiero (now the CEO of OPS) about bringing a couple hundred I.T. jobs to our area. I thought it was a joke at first and I hung up on him! It just didn’t seem real. After working on the project for over a year and half, I was approached to join Provalus and I jumped at the chance.
A: How long have you lived in Brewton?
W: I grew up in Dallas and met my wife, Molly at Auburn University. She is from Brewton so I fell in love with this community. I always told her when we have children, we are going to go to Brewton and raise our family there. Thats exactly what we did 23 years ago.
A: What do you enjoy about working at Provalus?
W: One of my biggest joys is just having impact. Taking empty buildings or green fields and turning them into jobs and knowing people are taking money home to their families. We are on a mission to impact rural communities and that’s my life. I chose to raise my family in a rural community and I’ve been fighting for rural life and I want other people to have that same opportunity.
A: What has been the biggest impact Provalus has had on the community?
W: It’s the physical presence and the people in these communities. We purposely locate our facilities in the heart of the downtown area. Rural areas have struggled with their downtown. I can say that from experience, for many years, I could ride through downtown and nothing’s happening. I mean, it’s still beautiful. They’re nice, historic buildings, but nobody’s in them. And now when I pull up to this 55,000 square foot facility, we’ve not only changed the landscape of downtown, but we have activity.
A: Fun fact about yourself?
W: I play Atticus Finch in the To Kill a Mockingbird play that Monroeville puts on ever year. Monroeville is the home of Harper Lee who wrote To Kill a Mockingbird. It’s all local talent and it has been a tremendous experience. As you get older, you learn how much you grow when you get outside of your comfort zone.