On the Job with Darrell Sabbs

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

Q. What was your first job?

A. I was an information aide at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. I worked in the natural history building. It was a summer job and I was 16. My wife swears she saw me way back then when she came through the Smithsonian.

Q. What did you spend your money on with that first paycheck?

A. I had always wanted a blue seersucker suit. With my first check, I bought that suit. I wore it to a concert to see the Supremes. I wanted to impress Diana Ross. I remember it well.

Q. What advice would you give a college graduate today who is looking for work in a tough economy?

A. If possible, I'd suggest they get an international experience. I love to travel. I think international relations are so important. Go to Europe, Africa, South America if you can find some type of internship with an international experience.

Q. Do you have a business role model?

A. I think Joel Wernick (CEO at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital) is an amazing executive. In a hospital you have a whole lot of egos. Different segments of the hospital think they are the most important and he finds ways to juggle things so everybody feels like they are the most important. That is an amazing art to me. There is so much to learn from him. And, the main CEO to me is President Obama. He is my main role model because of his communication skills and his vision and his sensitivity.

Q. What is your favorite gadget?

A. I love my XM radio. I've got it in the car, in the office, at home. Without it, I would struggle for good music. Radio stations don't deliver. Uninterrupted music of any type just sends me through the day.

Q. What do you read every day?

A. I read the Bible and I like inspirational messages. Sometimes I want something quick.

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

A. I'm up at 6 a.m. and jog and get right to my workout. I lift some weights and get in the Jacuzzi. In the summer, I swim each morning.

Q. What is your favorite hobby or activity outside of work?

A. I love working out. I also love eating tasty, spicy food; that's why I have to jog. I love music and I love meeting and talking to people. If I had to go through my day in isolation I would probably freak out. I am a social animal. That's one thing about the South. Ask someone how they are doing and they'll stop and talk to you. I can spend 30 minutes in the grocery store just talking to people.

Q. What might I find on the "most played" file on your iPod?

A. R&B and jazz. Luther Vandross, Chaka Kahn and Baby Face.

Q. What would be your dream job if you could take another position outside your current career path?

A. I love the theater. I would be a producer of stage. It used to be politics, but I would want to be a producer on Broadway.

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

A. Sleeping until noon, having the best brunch that I can find and then getting a total body massage.

Q. When you were a child and folks asked what you were going to be when you grew up, what was your most frequent answer?

A. I was going to be a political leader. I didn't say president. I was just going to be in politics. I believe politicians can help the most people in the shortest amount of time. I am a service guy and have been around politicians all my life.

Q. You grew up in the Washington, D.C., area. What brought you to south Georgia?

A. I married a Georgia Peach. My wife was getting her graduate degree at George Washington University and auditioned for a play I was producing. I met her and came to visit her family in Americus. She inherited the family business there and I gave up theater and politics to come with her.

Q. What was the most beneficial course you took in school?

A. For me, it was the social

sciences. Civics.