Mayer, a former accounting major, uses his degree for good and knows “the power of work.”
Title: Senior Vice President/COO of Goodwill
Hometown: Bossier City
Now resides in: Haughton
Degree and year of graduation: Bachelor of Science in Accounting, (’77)
How I got to Tech: It was a very natural thing; many of my friends from Bossier High School were going to Tech, but even before that it seemed to be preordained that I would go to Tech. I never gave other possibilities much thought.
My father, the late William G. Mayer Sr., graduated from Tech in civil engineering in the late 1940s. He met my mother, the late Tommye Watson Mayer, while she was also attending Tech. Then my two older sisters, Carolyn Mayer Hunter and Jeanne Mayer Jerding, both got degrees at Tech, as did my older brother, William G. Mayer Jr. By the time I came along there was really no decision to be made!
My professional route to my present job: After graduating in 1977, I spent a few years with the national accounting firm Peat Marwick Mitchell & Co. (now KPMG) and then worked for a couple of energy related companies in Shreveport - my entry into the oil business coincided with the bust in the oil business that hit in the early 80s, almost to the day. From there I worked in manufacturing for a British-owned company that opened a Greenfield plant in Minden. I started in the finance department, working my way up to the position of general manager. We were bought out by a Germany-based company, and I was sent to the southeast U.S. for a few years as a regional vice president before the company shut down the operations for which I was responsible. My next stop was Goodwill in Shreveport; I’ve been there since November 2003.
What I do now: I was hired at Goodwill as director of finance and CFO; I am currently senior vice president and chief operating officer with responsibilities for Goodwill’s Retail Program and Contracts Program and Workforce Development Programs, in addition to my finance and administration duties.
An average day on the job: Our Goodwill employs over 500 people in the northern-most 26 parishes in Louisiana and is part of a network of over 180 Goodwills throughout the world. There really is no average day here, and that’s one of the things I really love about my job. It is a place that presents endless opportunities for our employees, the clients we serve and for me personally.
How Tech helped prepare me: In addition to the obvious great education I received at Tech, I learned about the importance and lifelong value of relationships. I was challenged to set my goals as high as possible: work hard, enjoy life and accomplish much.
Advice to incoming freshmen: I would tell them a few things: 1) Take a deep breath, look around and absorb it all. Your college days will be some of your best memories, so make sure they are all great memories. 2) Never do anything you cannot be proud of - who knows: you may be running for President someday. 3) Don’t take yourself too seriously; no one else really does. And last but not least: 4) when you hit the real world, never consider yourself indispensable to your employer – you’re likely not.
Some accomplishments I’m most proud of: My family. Words simply cannot express how grateful I am for, and proud I am of, my wife, Rebecca - formerly Rebecca Mitchell of Bossier City. Together we are so extremely proud of our two daughters, their husbands and our grandchildren.
Professionally I am honored to be part of Goodwill and the work that is done every day to improve people’s lives through the “power of work.” Most people think of Goodwill as a thrift store or a place to donate things they are unwilling to put in the trash bin. Goodwill is so much more than meets the eye. It is all about jobs and helping people find and keep work. Tens of thousands of families have been helped by Goodwill’s mission in North Louisiana since 1926; the economic impact is incalculable.
If I’ve learned one thing in life, it’s: There is little satisfaction in doing things the easy way. I’ll paraphrase JFK’s explanation for committing the U.S. to go to the Moon: “We do these things not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” With that being said, I also know there is a difference in doing things easily and doing things efficiently.
My favorite memories of Tech: My friends. I got to know better the folks that I had known prior to my days at Tech, and of course made many new lifelong friends. We even had an intramural team that actually won the Campus Championship in the Independent Division one year, which was pretty cool. We figured if you at least participated in every sport, did OK in some and won one or two that you could win the Championship, so that’s what we did. I even ran - and I use that term loosely - in the Cross County event once with a few other guys.
I married during my time at Tech and sat out a year to scrape up enough money to finish school. Rebecca and I came back and lived in Vetville. Those last five quarters were really a blast and were, of course, my best quarters grade-wise.
When I graduated, the Dean came by under the stands to review pronunciation of our names before the ceremony. My last name is pronounced “Meyer,” not “Mayor” (as it looks), so I spent a few minutes with him explaining how to pronounce it correctly. When I got my diploma, he got my last name right, but funny enough, instead of calling out “Carl Mayer,” he called out “Earl Mayer.”