|Helping people find the ideal job: Gallatin native Bill Kirby|
|Thursday, February 2, 2012|
Opens new office on the Square
While Gallatin native Bill Kirby is still looking for his dream job â rock star â he is content in helping others find their dream jobs through his company, Russell, Montgomery & Associates, LLC, which recently opened a new office in his hometown.
Located on the second floor of the old First and Peopleâs Bank building on corner of the Square and N. Water, the talent management company handles everything from employee acquisitions to retention strategies including training and people development. âMy mission is to help people find their dream job,â he explained. âWe do a lot of assessments to try to find out where peopleâs passions are, where their skills are, and where their interests are. A lot of people are in jobs they not really happy with. Even if they are let go, they werenât happy to begin with, so I help them find, what I call, their dream job.â
The company is part of OI partners, Inc., an out placement service which was the original basis of the business. It has led Kirby to be involved in several career transition groups helping the unemployed get employed. âItâs been a huge thing for the past four or five years but is has tailed off a little right now; there is not as much down-sizing going on,â he said.
He heads up a career transition group at First Presbyterian Church in Nashville and is a guest speaker at other career transitions groups in Murfreesboro, Brentwood, and Hendersonville. Kirby is president of the Sumner County Human Resources Association (SCHRA) which meets monthly to address human resource needs in the county. He is active in posting available jobs and distributing to a large e-mail network of career transition groups and job seekers, who pass it on until thousands have received the information. People that have never met Bill Kirby get his jobs postings emails on a regular basis.
âFinding a job today is about networking. Itâs about getting to know people, finding people, sort of like the sixth degree of separation,â he said. âSometimes the further you get from your friends, the quicker you find a job. Growing up in the south and growing up in a small town, I always knew networking and who you know makes a big difference.
The small town he grew up in was Gallatin. As a youngster, Kirby was busy singing in the First Baptist choir and exploring the bursting rhythm and blues music scene of the 1950s with his combo band while in high school and college.
âI always was a music person,â Kirby recalled. âI started singing in the church choir and playing in the school band in the sixth grade. I started a combo band in 1957, my freshman year, with Gary Kilgore, Jimmy Vantrease, Joe Templeton, and Ron McCormick. We learned the songs on the radio, pop and rhythm and blues mostly. We played song by artists like Ray Charles, B.B. King, John Lee Hooker, and Muddy Waters.â
Kirby played in various bands and in various venues around the mid-state for about 10 years. Locally, he recalls playing at some âHugh Baby Hopsâ, sock hops held at various sites around Gallatin including the VFW hall and the American legion. According to Kirby, the sock hops were a product of Hugh Jarrett, a former WHIN radio broadcaster who, in the 1950s, sang bass with Jordanaires, back-up singers for Elvis Presley.
One of Kirbyâs bands ended up with a regular television gig on The Noel Ball Show, out of Nashville.
âNoel Ball wanted to manage our band and send us on the road,â Kirby said. âI told my dad I was going to do that instead of going to college. He said âNot! Youâre going to college.â So I went to Western Kentucky University which is sort of a Kirby family tradition.â
Kirbyâs high school band career was put on pause so he could play football for the Green Wave before graduating with the Class of 1961. The class recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of their graduation with a reunion. As expected, Kirby did his âinfamousâ Elvis impersonation and sang with classmates in a barbershop quartet.
The classical singing lessons he took in the ninth grade paid off for him during a 20 year stint singing with the Nashville City Opera. The time requirements for his opera hobby took too much away from his job so he isnât currently active with the group, âMemorizing about 200 pages of Italian lyrics in six weeks, three of four times a year, got to be a bit much,â he said. âI really did enjoy it. I love of being on stage, especially the TPAC (Tennessee Performing Arts Center) stage, singing as loud as I wanted to.â
Though music is first love, his main passion today is helping others find their ideal job. The 68-year-old spent over 30 years in merchandising and strategic planning with Genesco and Lifeway. He decided to âdo it on my ownâ and became a partner with Russell, Montgomery and Associates in 2007, gaining the rights for the entire state of Tennessee. He serves on the Board of Directors and is responsible for developing new markets. He is currently seeking new partners in Australian, New Orleans, Houston and Wisconsin.
When asked about his decision to open an office in Gallatin, he explained that several people encouraged me to open an office to help with local staffing needs.Â I decided to give it a try and began searching around Gallatin for the right location,â he said. âI just love the old building on the square.Â I remember the two dime stores on the corners here. My dad was manager of National Store on other corner.â
Coming home has been easy for Kirby. He has created two Facebook pages dedicated to sharing memories of his youth; You might be from Gallatin if... and Gallatin Memories.
By Randy Cline