Bill Sanders: Winning an award that means a lot
Everybody has a different story to tell about how they got into the cast polymer business, and Bill Sanders, this year’s Royce Newsom Pinnacle Award winner is no exception.
Sanders was a certified public accountant with a national firm in 1989 when a friend approached him with what he said was a lucrative deal: buy out a cultured marble company that was bankrupt. It was the era when the downfall of the savings and loan industry had created a crisis in the housing industry, and Sanders had been looking for business and investing opportunities.
He put together the financing deal to acquire the assets of Alamo Marble on Jan. 1, 1990. The firm had no customers and one employee, but a business plan and the two partners. How- ever, Sanders soon discovered irregularities in the plan and in his partner’s business practices so after a legal fight, he became sole owner of a company with many challenges.
In those early years, the company’s method of operation was designed, “just so we could survive. I had to learn this business from the ground up and find the right people, which was never an easy task,” Sanders says. Fortunately, he had some help along the way in the form of a competing company that joined forces with him and helped get the business off the ground.
“IT’S AN HONOR TO RECEIVE AN AWARD NAMED FOR THE MAN WHO GAVE SO MUCH TO THIS ORGANIZATION AND INDUSTRY.” — Bill Sanders
But Sanders faced many difficulties on his journey from those days, when the shop was about 2,500 square feet to today, at 35 employees and over 17,000 square feet including the plant, administrative offices and storage.
Sanders gives much credit for his success to professional organizations in which he’s been active, and to individuals such as Royce Newsom, who provided critical advice during a time when Sanders needed it. He tells the story of a time when he was struggling with how to find the right people to manage Alamo—he was trying to maintain his accounting firm at the same time he ran Alamo. He knew Newsom from meetings and they were already friends when Sanders and his wife headed up from San Antonio to the Lubbock, TX area for a basketball game and decided to swing by Royce’s shop and spend what he thought would be a few hours looking at how Newsom operated his well-run shop.
“That short day turned into an all-day process. He let us take pictures, gave us all kinds of advice on what we needed to do. He was full of ideas and inspiration,” Sanders recalls.
Sanders was active in the regional associations that were part of ICPA’s predecessor, the Cultured Marble Institute, and later in the national association. When ICPA started talking about becoming its own entity, “Royce called me and told me to get to POLYCON Atlanta,” a move that resulted in Sanders coming onto the board.
Sanders says that winning the award named for his friend Royce means a lot to him.
“Royce helped me like he had so many others during a time I was struggling. It’s an honor to receive an award named for the man who gave so much to this organization and industry,” Sanders says.