If the name William “Bill” Dryburgh appeared in the dictionary, it would have to take up several different pages. Exalted Ruler of the Elks, chef, successful real estate agent, rock ’n’ roll band manager and husband to his best friend, Cathi. From the first time he found an old golf club on a golf course at the age of 10, to running the second-largest Elks lodge in the United States with more than 4,000 members, Bill has enjoyed waking up every day and accomplishing a wide variety of activities. Ask Bill, as many do, “How long have you been retired?” and he will respond, “What’s retirement?”
Where did you grow up?
What city do you live in now?
Punta Gorda. I moved in 1994 from Orlando to become the fire chief.
What did your parents do for a living?
Dad worked for Westinghouse. Mom was a “stay-at-home” mom.
What is the greatest lesson your parents taught you?
Respect everyone and treat people fairly and honestly.
Who is your favorite TV hero?
The Lone Ranger — always the good guy, solving problems, doing what was right.
What hobbies and interests do you have now?
I love technology. I have been working very hard to bring technology to the Elks Club. Many people know me as the general manager of “The BoogieMen.”
What did you want to be when you grew up?
A professional golfer. Sam Snead and Arnold Palmer were my heroes. As a Boy Scout, I had to earn a merit badge and interviewed a local fire chief. During the interview, a call came in, the chief and the firemen sprang into action and I was hooked.
What is your favorite type of music?
Rock ’n’ roll. I was classmates in high school with four guys that formed a music group called The Vogues. “Turn Around Look at Me” was one of their biggest hits.
What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
Being elected as the Exalted Ruler of the Punta Gorda Elks.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
I worked with Arnold Palmer on his board of directors for the Bayfront Golf Tournament for 15 years. And some may be surprised to learn I am a trained chef. Locally, I am known for my shrimp and grits.
How do you define success?
Respected by peers and people in the community.
How long have you been a real estate agent?
What was your first job?
I was 14 years old and caddied at the Edgewood Country Club in Pittsburgh for $5 a bag, two bags a round.
What was your worst job?
I once cut lawns for FHA-foreclosed homes and had to cut a lawn every 4 minutes. It was brutal.
What attracted you to the real estate industry?
I used to eat at a restaurant, almost daily, in Orlando, and met a couple that was becoming very successful in real estate. We connected in Punta Gorda when I moved here — many in town know Buzz Berson.
Describe yourself in one sentence.
Motivated to make a difference as long as I am on this earth.
Who was your personal mentor as an adult?
Gene Reynolds, a Fire Chief of mine, taught me how work with all different personalities.
What is the best professional advice you have ever received?
Slow down, take a deep breath before you make a decision.
What do you believe is your greatest strength?
I’m a people person.
What is the one most important trait every leader should have?
The discipline to look at all sides of a problem before making a decision — and then to ask yourself, “Does the decision help accomplish the goal or plan?”
To what do you owe your success?
Much of my success is due to the partnership with my wife, Cathi. The saying is true. “Happy wife, happy life” — and I am happy. ¦
William “Bill” Dryburgh
>> Exalted Ruler, Benevolent & Protective Order
of the Elks
>> Punta Gorda Lodge 2606
>> 637-2606, ext. 46