© St. Petersburg Times, published October 30, 2001
Ted Gastman worked for Dillard's for more than 25 years as a top executive. A year and a half after retirement, he is a volunteer in charge of the SCORE office in St. Petersburg.
The Service Corps of Retired Executives is a volunteer, not-for-profit organization that counsels small businesses at no charge. In Pinellas County, SCORE has helped 15,000 companies in the past 30 years.
Gastman is a 1951 graduate of the University of Missouri. He and his wife, Sara, have been married 46 years, and they have three adult children and six grandchildren. In his free time, Gastman enjoys golf and travel. While in California, a friend introduced him to SCORE. And since moving to Florida, Gastman has continued as a SCORE volunteer. He said, "It is very rewarding volunteer work for retired business people. We are looking for members."
This is a national organization with headquarters in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration. But the dynamics of SCORE lie in its local chapters, almost 400 of them nationwide, with more than 12,000 volunteer members. They help 170,000 businesses annually with more than 1-million hours of counseling. Many of these small businesses could not have survived without their assistance.
To small-business owners and executives who have achieved business success before, SCORE offers a second career. Now they can work at their own pace, maintain the skills that made them successful and enjoy stimulating associations without the pressures they had before. In other words, unwind without running down.
SCORE provides a wide range of services to small businesses. One-on-one counseling to a business is its primary function. A SCORE counselor is assigned to advise a company based on his or her expertise and background in the field of the client's business and the counselor's knowledge of management, business planning, marketing, financing, engineering and other related business activities.
For the convenience of its clients, the Pinellas SCORE chapter has offices in St. Petersburg and Clearwater. SCORE members, all part-time volunteers, manage the organization and staff its committees along with their regular counseling work.
SCORE members receive no compensation except for reimbursement for local travel expenses. Yet they have strong motivations for giving their time to this work: the satisfaction of passing on their experience and helping others to succeed, using the skills acquired in a lifetime of business and associating with interesting, stimulating people.
Retired executives or those considering retirement soon may learn more about SCORE by calling (727) 532-6800.
- Betty Hayward is the director for the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program in Pinellas County. You can write to her c/o Seniority, the Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731.
-- Retired and Senior Volunteer Program: 727-327-8690, ext. 22, or 727-443-1916.
Volunteer Action Center: 727-893-1140