I’ve known for a while now that my dear friend Alan Holcombe, Whites Corporate Manager, was about to retire. Now that it’s official, I can share my feelings and they are both happy and sad. I say that because I have been privileged to know and work with Alan and I will miss him. I also know that he has more than earned the right to finally take it easy.
Alan and I go back a long ways….30 years to be exact. Thanks to the late Ken White, Sr., we first met in College Station, Texas, back in 1984 and we have been good friends ever since. Even when I accepted the director of marketing position at Garrett Electronics, we remained friends in the truest sense despite being competitors.
Charles Garrett, yours truly and Alan Holcombe, mid 80’s
Two years later when I lost my job at Garrett I was pretty depressed, having moved my reluctant family half way across the country. Not surprisingly, Alan Holcombe was the very first to call, not only to offer moral support but to ask if I wanted to come to work for Whites. I will never forget that and as tempting as the offer was, I was not about to put my family through another move.
Then later on that same year Alan was in Dallas and we met for lunch. While discussing all things detecting, he asked if I would consider writing a book for Whites…. an easy to read, easy to understand beginner’s book for those looking to enter the hobby. That book, “Metal Detecting, the Hobby”, was my first but not the last for Whites.
Over the years we have shared a lot. Alan has kept me abreast of what was going on at the factory, within the industry, and I did my best to keep him up-to-date on what was taking place out in the field. Also, thanks to Alan, I was privileged to be part of White’s field test team and asked numerous times what my thoughts were about new ideas and projects. Visiting the factory in Sweet Home was always like visiting family.
Lastly what a lot people don’t know about Alan is that he is a very caring individual on a personal level, and over the years he and Whites have helped a lot of folks who were facing difficulties, be it with their business or personal life. I can’t count the number of times I would share a story about someone going through tough times and he would always say “how can we help” or “what do they need”…..and it was always without fanfare or publicity. I could go on and on with stories about Alan but I won’t embarrass him. Suffice to say, he’s a good man and will be missed by many….
Fun times over the years….
Alan’s last day will be October 30th, which also happens to be his 70th birthday (jeezus, just a kid). So Alan, let me be the first to wish you a happy birthday and a very enjoyable, fun-filled retirement. Knowing you, it will not be easy to sit around so let me suggest you give metal detecting a try. I know of a great manufacturer up your way and I would be more than happy to put in a good word for you….
Gary Micheau, currently Product Development Manager, will be taking Alan’s place….