For one of our Westlakers 2014 started on a high note when he was recognised by the Queen in the New Year Honours list. William Smale QSM, known as Bill – passionate Westlaker, Director of Smales Farm and successful entrepreneur in the software and communications industries, received the Queen’s Service Medal for services to education. His vision is to help young people create futures in business and Bill puts his money where his mouth is.
Bill was at Westlake from 1966 – 1969 and remembers that although he was never a lot of trouble, he certainly managed to get into a bit of trouble at school with his favourite pastimes being eating lunch and playing “500”. Bill was no academic high flyer but with a family business background, Bill and his brother Greg caught the entrepreneurial bug when they started their first venture, supplying wire netting tops for floral arrangements to Yates and L.A. Griffiths Ltd whilst still at Westlake. The monies raised from this venture helped him to come up with the deposit for his first house in Milford.
By the time Bill left Westlake his business sense was well developed and from owning a driving school franchise to a drive-in vehicle service centre and running a motel, the basis was firmly secured for the greatest project so far – the Smales Farm Technology Office Park, a fulfilment of a six-decade dream developed over several Smale generations and more recently by brothers Bill Greg, and cousin Chris.
Throughout the years Bill has maintained close connections with Westlake. He was part of the Westlake High School Past Pupils Association which, in the early 70’s, became known as the WBHS Old Boys Association and then, in 2007, went through a rebranding and became Westlakers. Bill has been a valued member of the Westlake Boys’ High School Foundation Trust ever since. For 20 years Bill has been actively involved in a range of education programmes designed to encourage high school students to explore and realise their full potential. Westlake’s Smale House, which represents “Enterprise” is named after him.
You will often find Bill back at school where he mentors our next generation of successful business people. One of the early programmes that Bill was involved in was the 21st Century Career Pathways which saw successful CEOs from different industries share their knowledge with North Shore students inspiring many of them to choose and develop their various career paths.
For over a decade Bill has been actively involved in the Young Enterprise Scheme Trust (YES) which helps North Shore secondary school students form a company and produce goods and services to sell. Some of these YES start-ups have emerged to become successful companies in the open market. Bill has inspired students to work hard in their businesses and reach their goals, as well as offering his own contacts to help them get to the next stage. His input is priceless and it’s fantastic to see the difference it makes to the students, when Bill comments on their business presentations.
Amongst other directorships, Bill is the Managing Director of Wireless Nation Ltd and his imagination goes into overdrive when he discusses his new ventures and projects. Together with business partner Tom Lin, he is currently developing a white label internet company in conjunction with the Auckland University of Technology of which every segment of the business will be run by its own students supplying broadband to students and the general public. He has high hopes to explore the possibilities of starting a similar company at Westlake Boys in the future.
Bill says that although it’s nice to be recognised for his contributions with the Queen’s Service Medal, he is just one amongst a great many individuals and organisations that have contributed to the success of the various education programmes he has been involved with.
Click here to read more Westlaker profiles and if you hear any news of Westlake Old Boys or former staff or if you are interested in supporting Westlakers events and activities, please contact Mrs Christine O’Dowd at school on 09 410 8667 or by [email protected]