About Bill Taylor

Who is Bill Taylor, really?

I could say I grew up in Paris and studied post-renaissance French literature at La Sorbonne before earning a PhD in economics from Harvard; that I am fluent in 7 languages and served as honorary chairman at the ninety-third annual Global Convention of Important People in Prague; and, that I beat Ken Jennings in a head-to-head Jeopardy challenge. But, that wouldn’t be true.

I could say I was a fighter pilot with 25 kills over the skies of Viet Nam before being shot down in a hail of gunfire during a dogfight-me in my F4 Phantom, alone against 7 Russian Mig fighters- after which I endured 6 years of torture in a Vietnamese prison camp before leading every POW to freedom during a daring early morning escape. That would also be a lie.

Okay, so I could say I’m a member of Mensa and that I got my MD from Duke University Medical School at age 16, and, also, hold doctorates in biomechanical engineering and microbiological research, and I spent the past 5 years volunteering in the jungles of Suriname, providing health care to indigenous population while, simultaneously, conducting research on the effects of the saliva of the deadly and extremely rare South American spitting viper on cancer cells.

Or, I could show you my dark side and tell you how I ran a highly successful school teaching seamanship to Somali pirates.

Truth of the matter is I’m just an average guy. As a kid, I had summer jobs as a plumber, carpenter, tree trimmer, and heating and air-conditioning technician. I was 14 years old when I worked in the hot and humid tobacco fields of eastern North Carolina, harvesting tobacco leaves (Colloquially speaking it’s called “cropping.” No one calls it harvesting.) for a dollar and twenty-five cents per hour. I earned a degree in engineering, working my way through college as a maintenance mechanic at a tobacco leaf processing factory, followed by nearly five years in the U.S. Coast Guard, after which I returned to the tobacco processing industry where I began a career as a safety professional.

Since 1977, I have worked to help employees be safe on the job and teach managers how to manage safety programs. My safety career took me from the tobacco industry to the City of Durham, North Carolina, where I was safety coördinator for the city for nearly nine years. I then had an opportunity to become a consultant with one of the world’s premier safety and health consulting firms in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Joining with a group of fellow employees, we bought the company and later sold it. Eventually, I left the company and, with my two partners, formed the consulting firm of Coble, Taylor and Jones Safety Associates, LLC. My career has taken me, thus far, to every state except North Dakota and Alaska and 22 countries on six continents.

In addition to consulting from here to Timbuktu, I also managed to overcome my shyness and am a frequent speaker at local, national, and international events. Topics range from humor and motivation to all things safety.

It has been an exciting journey and along the way my wife and I birthed, well, actually, she birthed, 3 sons, of whom we have always been extremely proud. They have grown up to become fine Christian young men, successful in their own rights, and, as of this writing, we have three granddaughters and one grandson.

Aside from my work and family I have served as an ordained deacon in two different churches, taught Sunday school for adults and sixth graders for twenty years, and along the way, while writing my lessons, I discovered how much I enjoy writing.  In addition to scripts, speeches and manuals, I have written award-winning magazines articles and have published a text-book on safety management. I have also written comedy for broadcast and stand-up. In fact I performed stand-up comedy just enough to know I did not want to be a stand-up comic.

Conducting research in the jungles of Suriname might have been very fulfilling; but, I wouldn’t change my life and my experiences for all the degrees at Harvard. I married the woman God intended me to marry and He blessed us with a great family and a fairytale life. By keeping our eyes on the prize, and realizing what was important in this world, we have been happy in all circumstances-good and not so good.  Not even George Bailey had a more wonderful life.


9 responses

13 06 2010
Jackie Garner

so enjoyable …. love all of your insights to life in general.Really like how your writings flow.

13 06 2010
Bill Taylor

Thank you so much, Jackie, for the compliments. That’s high praise coming from someone who has made a career of entertaining and has meant so much to so many. I know I’ll see your story in print one day!

16 06 2010
Roy Davenport

Bill, I thoroughly enjoyed the parachuting adventure story. I am glad to see that you have kept your sense of humor after all these years. I know somewhere in your archives you must still have the video you, Joseph and I did back in the ELB days. Take care and let me hear from you occasionally.

16 06 2010
Bill Taylor

Well, I’ll be…Roy, it sure is good to know you’re still around. Glad to know you found my blog too because a future story you would have a particular interest in. Stay tuned. Tell Carolyn, your Carolyn, not mine, hello.

20 07 2010
Wendy Brown

You have a wonderful humble talent! I have enjoyed all your stories and can’t wait to read more.

16 01 2013

loved your caviar article. So funny. Made my day!!

17 01 2013
Bill Taylor

Thanks. And isn’t it so true? Ya get something bad in your mouth and unless you’re at home, you’re stuck with it. Should teach us to tread softly!

13 09 2018
Bryan Marx

Mr. Taylor, I was just reading your post about Johnston. I was there 75-76. From what I understand one of the nukes that went haywire was destroyed with a self-destruct button showering Sand Is. Also, I don’t know if it was the same when I was on Sand Is. as when you were there, but when I was there a tanker truck came from the main island to Sand once a week and sprayed all the perimeters of the buildings with agent orange. In other words, I’m not ignoring that what one did and where one was located on Johnston Atoll helps determine what exposures they were subject to; but no one who was on JA was without some type of exposure, it was everywhere. There are other things that are rarely mentioned. The dispersal of tularemia. .

13 09 2018
Bill Taylor

Thanks for visiting my blog, Bryan. I’m assuming you were in the Coast Guard since you say you were on Sand Island. I certainly agree with your statement; there was no getting away from the multiple hazardous materials if you were anywhere within the reef. Problem is, our government doesn’t seem to want to acknowledge or accept any responsibility. I don’t remember a truck coming over or spraying the building perimeters but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen while I was there. If interested there’s a group of vets who were stationed on JA and may be experiencing health issues. If interested, you can contact John Simons at retiredvet2010@live.com. Best to you!

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