After 30 years as a Manufacturers’ Representative for Williams Sound, Wendell Poole retired on July 1, taking with him a wealth of memories of the people he’s met and the many places he’s traveled. And he will depart with yet another recognition in hand – the Lifetime Achievement Award recently presented to him by Williams Sound.
Poole’s relationship with Williams Sound began in 1983, when a love for travel led him from his home near Seattle to visit a cousin on the East Coast. Poole remembers the trip well. His cousin, who was serving on the board of trustees at his church and working as an engineer for RCA, praised the FM system his church recently purchased for hard-of-hearing parishioners. “My cousin was quite impressed with this Williams Sound technology and the amazing difference it made to those parishioners,” remembers Poole. “At the time, I was looking for a career change. My cousin couldn’t stop talking about Williams Sound. His enthusiasm definitely motivated me to pursue contact/employment with the company.”
He returned home from his trip and immediately contacted Williams Sound. The rest is history. “Right then and there, I began promoting Pocketalker personal amplifiers and large-area listening systems, eventually building a network of dealers, distributors, audiologists and other Williams Sound ‘believers’ across the great Northwest.”
In 1986, three years after first learning of Williams Sound, Poole traveled to San Francisco for an ASHA convention. For the first time, he met Williams Sound founder Jerry Williams and Product Manager Jim Pehringer. “Soon after that meeting, I became a full-time representative of Williams Sound assistive listening products, officially becoming their Western States Sales Representative.” Eventually, in 1994, Poole’s responsibilities would expand to include the Williams Sound commercial product line.
According to Mike Hartmann, current Assistive Listening Device (ALD) Sales Representative for Williams Sound, “A lot of people know the Williams Sound name today because of Wendell’s work on our behalf for the past three decades. We benefited from his strong belief in Williams Sound product and people quality, his networking skills, and his extensive involvement with industry organizations.” Poole’s involvement included such national organizations as ASHA, HLAA, NSCA and InfoComm, as well as a number of smaller organizations close to home.
Poole concentrated on selling only Williams Sound products throughout his career and found great satisfaction in doing so. When asked about the most memorable experience during his career, he could think of not just one, but a series of events that motivated him to stay focused on Williams Sound: “It was the excitement and appreciation shown by those folks who tried a Williams Sound ALD for the first time, those who experienced a dramatic improvement in their hearing after using this very special technology. The excitement, the smiles, even the tears of happiness….Experiencing reactions like that never got old. In fact, it confirmed to me that I had chosen the right career path.”
Says Williams Sound President and CEO Paul Ingebrigtsen, “Our relationship with Wendell goes back 30 years. Wendell was one of the pioneers and early evangelists for ALDs in the 1980s. His dedication, enthusiasm, professionalism, and sales skills helped to establish Williams Sound products firmly in the minds of hard-of-hearing consumers and hearing product distributors. We are grateful for his many years of effort on our behalf and the positive contributions he has made in the lives of hard-of-hearing people in the Northwest and beyond. We treasure our association with Wendell and wish him all the best as he moves on to the next adventure in his life.”
Though Poole admits he already lives in a “quite beautiful” part of the world (“On a clear day, we can see the snow-covered Canadian Rockies!”), he is looking forward to retirement – and to more time for site-seeing travels with his wife Erlene and more time for “hanging out” with his 17 grandchildren.
Williams Soundis a global designer and manufacturer of wireless communication technology, serving personal and professional listening needs worldwide for more than 35 years. Williams Sound offers products and service for such commercial markets as hearing assistance, language interpretation, tour, corporate, education, government and house of worship. These products include the Digi-Wave™ Digital Communication Systems, Personal PA® FM Listening Systems, Portable Hearing Assistance Tour Guide Systems, SoundPlus® Infrared Systems and Hearing Helper® FM Listening Systems.