On the Job with Joseph C. Iles

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

Q. If you were a young adult fresh out of college, what would you do first in searching for a job?

A. One should begin in college preparing for a career. It is no longer beneficial for one to look to just having a job, one should invest in having a career. Also look to move from the ranks of B.A./B.S. degrees to the ranks of getting a master's degree are higher.

Also, I would start while I was in college. Look into the corporate intern programs through the University's Business Career Center. This is where careers are born and where you can go and get a head start on the competition.

Q. What was the first thing you spent money on when you received your first paycheck?

A. Furniture. I did not have any furniture for my first apartment.

Q. What the single most effective technique you found over the past two years for keeping employees motivated?

A. Be honest with each associate.

Q. What was you first job, and what did it pay?

A. At the age Of 10 I had a newspaper route. I delivered 100 papers to my customers each week. I collected once a month, .60 cents from each customer. The newspaper cost 15 cents per copy. I had to pay the newspaper company 10 cents per paper to get them and I got to keep a nickel for each paper sold. I made $5 per week.

Q. Do you have a role model or mentor in your career?

A. The greatest influence on my life was my grandmother, Mrs. Annie Iles. I'm today what I am because of a grandmother that cared enough to want the very best for me. She was very strict and brought me up in the church. She believed and taught that Jesus is the way and that the power of daily prayer is the key to any success one could hope to have. She also believed that "Mother knows best". There was only one voice in my house and that voice was my grandmother's.

We were poor, but she wanted me to have the best that life could offer. Your life is directly paralleled to your efforts, she taught me. You will get know more out of life than what you put into it. She was my life; she was my friend and my angel. She died in 1989.

My business mentor is Ed Howard, retired regional president for JC Penney Co. Inc. This gentleman helped to guide my career and gave me career advice about what to do and how to handle many different situations. Not only did he become a partner and a friend, but he became like a father figure in my career along this journey.

Q. What is the biggest lesson you as a business leader learned from the recent recession?

A. Be prepared! Each day is not going to be a successful day in terms of how your business is operating. But what steps have you taken to ensure that your business is insulated from most issues. For each business that has made Customer Service their No. 1 priority and have worked each day trying to improve their customer service, these companies will be the ones that will survive during this economic downturn.

Q. If you could turn the clock back on one aspect of technology, what would you most like to see go away?

A. Professionally and personally, automated phone systems. I feel each customer that has a real serious problem deserves deal and to hear directly from me.

Q. Everyday I read...

A. Something business related, educational, newspapers like The Herald and USA today and magazines such as U.S. News & World Report, ESPN the Magazine, O by Oprah, Time. I also read something inspirational or motivational, such as the Bible. I'm currently reading two books, "Good To Great" by Jim Collins and "Winning" by Jack Welch with Suzy Welch.

Q. I'm up and at'm by...

A. 6 a.m.

Q. Favorite hobby or activity outside of work?

A. Bowling against my wife. This is very competitive. She feels she can beat me.

Q. What would be your dream job if you were able to pick a position outside your current path?

A. Fighter Jet Pilot. F-16/F-18. A fascination for the "need for speed."

Q. Finish this thought: "on the first anniversary of my retirement, I see myself...

A. Purchasing an RV.

Q. What's your call on when the economic recovery for our area will be in full swing?

A. We have a consumer driven economy. Until jobs are created and sustained, Albany, Ga. and this country will struggle... Jobs will be the key to this economic recovery. When Albany can begin to put its citizens back to work through jobs creation, then and only then will Southwest Georgia recover from this deep recession. Major Industry will need to come to Southwest Georgia in order to help secure the future of this community. This is just a rough, rough estimate, 18 - 24 months, but I see nothing from an economic standpoint to support this claim.