William Stanleigh Biddle, S.E.C.
Service Career: While still a high school senior, Bill enlisted in the Navy. Bill was stationed at the Great Lakes Naval Station. Of the many duties assigned to him, the one he most enjoyed was the Medical Corp. The Medical Corps demonstrated to Bill the benefit of medicine and the healing powers of the physicians. Bill was befriended by a Navy surgeon who offered to pay for Bill’s medical education, as well as to provide him with work on graduation. Bill decided not to pursue a medical career when he discovered that he would be required to attend 12 more years of college.
Bill was transferred from the Navy to the Marine Corps after being disciplined for enjoying life while being restricted to quarters. Bill was then stationed at Quantico, VA as a pharmacist’s mate. After once again getting into trouble, Bill was transferred to Special Services and assigned the duty of projectionist. It was here that Bill would complete his tour in the service.
Employment Data: After his discharge from the service, Bill became a shoe salesman for Mallings, on State Street. Bill’s salary was $35.00 per week. After a very short period of selling shoes, Bill was asked to move his family to California and manage an Ambassador Tire Store. Bill packed his family in the car, withdrew the $400 from his savings account (which was given to them as a wedding present), and moved to California. Upon arriving in California Bill was told that the man who had hired him had been fired and Bill no longer had a job. What luck! Bill immediately began doing what he knew best, selling shoes. Around 1950 Bill began to work for Douglas Aircraft where he was employed as a template maker, refrigerant engineer and special projects engineer, a field in which Bill had very limited experience.
In 1951 Bill applied to become a police officer for the City of Los Angeles. Bill was selected from some 435 applicants. Bill’s starting salary was $295 per month, or $74 per week less than what he had been earning at Douglas Aircraft. However, the municipal job gave Bill the security needed with a new family. Bill moved through the many police department divisions (patrol, traffic, and criminal investigation) until he reached the infamous vice squad (Mulholland Falls).
Bill’s police work was never easy and often unsafe. In one incident, Bill’s windshield was shot out by a shotgun blast. Bill was inches from death. At this point, Bill was three years away from retirement. Bill left the police force shortly thereafter. He never did retire and he never looked back.
Real Estate Highlights: Bill began his real estate career in 1967. Over the years Bill became proficient in residential sales, residential development, commercial development, and commercial acquisitions; and in 1972, Bill entered the exchange arena. During his real estate career Bill has owned and sold over three real estate companies.
When asked about his greatest achievement and his worst disaster in real estate, Bill is quick to respond, “Do your due diligence”. His worst transaction was an exchange. Bill exchanged his good property for a property that he describes as “worse than swamp land”. When Bill approached the broker and inquired about the value of the land, he was told to do his due diligence. While this transaction soured Bill’s taste for an individual, it in no way diminished his desire to remain in the exchange marketplace and the Society of Exchange Counselors. Bill explained that his greatest strengths come from his relationships within the Society. The network, the knowledge and the achievement occurred when he closed on an apartment complex at an S.E.C. meeting in 1979. At the insistence of Madge Davis, Bill purchased his first real apartment complex. That complex gave Bill an opportunity to grow financially and personally. Bill now enjoys development and upside projects where he can use his expertise to solve problems.
Overall Strength: The kindness of humanity! Being a police officer for some 20 years, Bill was only exposed to the negative side of humanity. Bill will always be the one to encourage someone to believe in your fellow man, open your heart, teach and/or share your valuable knowledge. The rewards will always outweigh the upsets by 10-fold.
Weakness: His secret – I promised not to tell. Ask Bill yourself, and I bet he’ll tell you.
In closing, I want to tell you a story that better explains how Bill grows and learns from life’s little ups and downs. While in the Navy, Bill tried out for the Navy boxing team. Bill always thought that this was where he had always belonged, since he was always fighting with someone. During Bill’s first boxing match, He was knocked out cold and put into never-never land. He said he had never been hit so hard in his life. With that, Bill looked at me and said “always know when to quit”.