By Crystal Cotton
Jim Feely has had several occupations throughout his career. Ice Cream Man. Gas Man. Parts Man. Fireman.
For over 19 years Feely has worked and volunteered in several positions at the Durham Highway Fire Department, including Fire Chief. During those years, Feely has overcome many challenges, like learning how to operate the various water pump units and finding a proper work-life balance between working a full-time job and responding to fire calls or medical emergencies in the middle of the night.
He does have a lot of fond memories though; “Yes, it’s a lot of fun to ride in a fire truck, but it’s even more fun to drive one, especially when you get to run a few red lights,” says Feely.
Most notably though, working with the Fire Department has encouraged him to take a different perspective on life.
“Dealing with various levels of emergency and tragedy helped me learn not to sweat the small stuff,” says Feely. “I have a much better appreciation for my friends and family.”
Jim Feely, pictured center, on vacation in Florida with his family. He has been with Bell and Howell for 29 years.
Even now, he recognizes the importance of balancing home, work, and recreation, both for himself and those around him.
“I have always had fun doing what I do here at Bell and Howell. It’s okay to have fun at work and that is what I wish for everyone,” he says. “Enjoy what you do and strive to create an environment where others can learn and grow.”
Since his start as Parts Man at Bell and Howell, Feely has accumulated a total of 29 years great years with the company. In his current position as the Senior Vice President of Global Business Services, he continues to recognize the importance of every person involved in making a business successful.
“Take good care of your people and they will take good care of your customers…in that order,” says Feely.
His key to success?
“Don’t ever forget where you came from,” he states. “One thing I can tell you that exists at Bell and Howell is opportunity.”
Even now, his first business card as a Parts Man hangs on his wall.
He also has an array of pictures of his wife, Peg, and their 3 kids – Shane, Jimmy and Alexis. In addition, one will find a variety of medals, plaques and trophies from one of his favorite hobbies, golf. Stick around long enough and he might even discuss his favorite hobby, restoring cars from the 60’s and 70’s.
“To me, laying under a car to work on an engine or transmission is the most relaxing way to spend the weekend,” states Feely. “One of my most rewarding [projects] was to rebuild a 1980 Trans Am Indy Car with my son who has also cultivated a passion for cars.”