After twelve and a half years at Imperial Systems and two chili cook-off trophies, Carl Callen is retiring! Carl has been a key part of Imperial Systems from its early years, working hard, mentoring new employees, and keeping Jeremiah on his toes. We caught up with Carl before his retirement party to talk about his time here and his plans for the future.
You’ve been here for twelve and a half years. What did you do before that?
I’ve done every job that was out there to support my family. I spent eighteen years in the automotive industry, doing body work, painting, restoration… almost anything. I spent seven years working on railroad cars. I’ve done welding and fabricating. The automotive work turned into a hobby, and I’ve been restoring antique cars as side projects for years.
You were in the military?
I spent two years in the army, but I was behind a desk and it just wasn’t for me. I like jobs where I’m moving around and doing things with my hands. I got out and went back to doing the kind of jobs I’m good at.
What’s been the best thing about working at Imperial Systems?
This is one of the best places I’ve worked. I think one of my favorite things is giving Jeremiah a hard time. And some of the other guys, we’ve been working together for more than ten years. We’re like an old married couple, fighting and arguing all the time. I like teaching the new guys when they come in, help them learn to do things right.
What made you decide it was finally time for retirement?
My body has been telling me it was getting to be time. It’s gotten pretty hard to do all the getting up and down that I have to do all day. I’ve been working since I was a kid and it’s about time to give my knees and everything a rest.
What do you plan to do with your retirement?
I really like restoring antique cars, and I want to spend more time doing that, tinkering my garage and starting some new projects. I’ll be going to a lot of baseball games and softball games, too. My grandson is thirteen and my granddaughter is ten, so I’ll be going to watch them play. I’m looking forward to having more time to spend with them.
Any advice for the people who will follow in your footsteps here?
I’d just tell them “good luck!” and “hang in there!”. Just pay attention and learn everything you can.
A few months after we bid Carl farewell, we caught up with him to see what he has been up to with his new found spare time.
“I’ve been working on my honey-do list,” he told us, saying that he now has the chance to do things around the house that he never had time for before. “I’ve been thinking about coming back to Imperial. At least there I get a break!” In his extra time, Carl has been enjoying fishing, car shows, and of course, sleeping in. He likes to spend time on his porch with a cup of coffee, listening to the birds in the morning and the crickets in the evening.