William Chandler is serving up an impressive second profession as a chemistry teacher as well as a tennis enthusiast in Jackson Tennessee. He began his career with Upjohn in 1969 as a Sales Rep. and took early buyout at age 55 from Pharmacia/Upjohn in 1995.
As a Central Nervous System/CV Specialist, he was a successful sales representative for XANAX, HALCION, and ALTACE in the west Tennessee territory just outside of Memphis. He was the recipient of the Sales Academy Award. In 1975, he led the nation in Motrin sales. At the time of his retirement, he was seventh in market share for XANAX.
Willie says he enjoyed the personal relationships the most — with both company colleagues and his customers. “The company’s motto was ‘Keep the quality up’ and I always appreciated that. They really expected quality and lived up to that ideal. That was important to me.”
Soon after retiring, Willie returned to teaching chemistry (which he had done for 6 years before joining Upjohn) in a local private high school. He then had the opportunity to join the faculty of the local public high school that experienced such growth it split into two schools. His 17 years as an educator have been quite gratifying, and he earned the Outstanding Teacher Award from the American Chemical Society. He is proud of his school and his students. “It’s a lot of fun and very rewarding,” he said. “One of my former female students is now at Harvard on a full scholarship. Next year, an African-American student of mine will be attending St. Louis University, also on a full scholarship.”
Willie also shared his interest in tennis with his students as coach of the tennis team where he led his team to the State Championships a few times. One of his students won the individual event and another finished second. He has been recognized as District Coach of the Year six times. Additionally, he has officiated at USTA, College and professional events. “The college work was mostly with 15 or so Ohio Valley Championships and 3 or 4 Southeastern Conference Championships,” said Chandler. He was named Umpire of the Year for the 1993 Southeast Conference professional championships.
He also shares his love of tennis with his wife, Fran. She is a pharmacist at Kmart and an amateur tennis champion (to put it mildly). “My wife is the real story,” said Willie. She is, in fact, currently ranked No. 1 in the world by the International Tennis Federation. She finished last year ranked No. 1 in the women 45 and older division of the United States Tennis Association (the governing body of amateur tennis in the U.S.). She was inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.
She travels six or seven times a year to various events, and this year happened to be in Christchurch, New Zealand just as the earthquake hit. The second half of her event, the 2011 ITF Seniors World Individual Championships scheduled to be played in Christchurch, had to be cancelled due to the natural disaster. “It was sad to see such destruction in such a beautiful place. It was actually an aftershock of a quake that had hit in September, but it was a 7+ in magnitude and hit at mid-day,” Fran said. She kept a blog of her experiences in New Zealand.
Willie and Fran’s lives on and off the courts are well matched and well played. While their active days continue to include pharmaceuticals and chemistry, their sporting time is devoted to tennis — whether playing, officiating, or cheering from the sidelines. To learn more about Willie, view his PfizerPLUS profile.