Dec. 30, 2002 – After 18 years of telling the world about The West Indian Co., public relations executive Calvin H. Wheatley is retiring on Tuesday a happy man.
Wheatley, whose work over the years has been as a consultant to the WICO president, said he started telling company officials last March of his desire to call it quits by the end of the year. But when the day came for his retirement party, he said, he found himself commenting to co-workers, "You know, I'm not ready to go. I'm happy here."
The official announcement of Wheatley's retirement came Monday from WICO President Edward E. Thomas Sr. "Mr. Wheatley has had a long and distinguished career with WICO from the days of its Danish ownership and served then also as the company's public relations officer," he said in a release.
Thomas, who also chairs WICO's board of directors, said one of the most important roles Wheatley played came during the negotiations between the company's Danish owners and the V.I. government that resulted in the purchase of WICO by the government in 1993.
Then-Gov. Alexander A. Farrelly subsequently appointed Wheatley to the new WICO board formed after the acquisition. "We saw the world, literally, because meetings were held in different places, even the Far East," Wheatley said on Monday.
Thomas said the WICO management and staff wish him more of the same "many years of peaceful retirement filled with lots of laughter, happiness and travel."
WICO's corporate secretary, Gershwain Sprauve, will assume the duties Wheatley has held pertaining to government regulatory issues. Corporate public relations matters will be handled through the office of the president for the time being; the company will begin its search later in 2003 for a permanent public relations staff person.
Wheatley said he has always admired the professionalism he found at The West Indian Co. Low turnover and worker loyalty have given WICO the feel of family, he said.
But when 2003 arrives on Wednesday, it will be the beginning of a new life for the veteran public relations man, one he said will always find him close to his Virgin Islands roots.
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