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'Phone guy' Scotty Hale is a man on the move

by Lacey

Scotty Hale almost didn’t accept the communications job at Coastal Carolina University when it was offered to him 14 years ago. Six weeks had passed since his interview, and he had already signed up for truck driving lessons when he got the call. He did accept, however, and has been CCU’s well-known “phone guy” ever since.

Hale was born in Borger, Texas, but grew up in Gassaway, W.Va., before joining the Air Force in 1985. His first duty station brought him to Myrtle Beach for more than four years before he was sent to New York. It was on Griffiss Air Force Base that Hale starting work in communications. He would spend one to three months in Engineering Instillation groups (EIG), traveling to places like North Dakota, Maine, Maryland and Illinois putting in phone stations. He was shipped to Saudi Arabia and spent 111 days there during Operation Desert Storm.

In 1992, Hale was stationed in Okinawa, Japan to work in cable maintenance. But after a few months, he was reassigned to escort contractors onto flight lines in restricted areas, and in doing so, became very involved with the Communications Systems Program Office (CSPO). It was there that he became a quality insurance evaluator – which Scotty says is a “fancy title” for inspector – observing 29 different crews daily. He was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal for Meritorious Service, and was a key player in the successful installation and cutover of the largest telecommunications project in the Department of Defense’s history, valued in excess of 27 million dollars.

Hale’s office also received the Outstanding Team Award for the team’s aggressive approach to quality assurance surveillance – verifying the installation of 144 miles of conduit, copper cable and 200 manholes, resulting in 75,000 man days of heavy construction work without incident.

But after 10 years in the Air Force, Hale was ready for a change so he returned to the Grand Strand. He’s been living in Conway for the past 14 years.

He started working at CCU in 1996 – no golf cart, and he had to carry his tool bag everywhere. He has since upgraded. Not only does he have a golf cart and very large toolbox, he also has an air-conditioned office with his own phone line.

Hale is CCU’s Information Technology Services (ITS) communications technician. With the help of Paul Lempert, he runs two telephone switches (or Modules) – one in the Wall building and the other in Singleton. And when it comes to phones, from activating to reprogramming to rewiring, he pretty much does it all.

Hale is a familiar presence all over campus. One after another, he fills work orders – across campus, off to a module, back to an office, running to his storage bin. But despite his hectic schedule, Scotty prides himself on being thorough and accurate. In addition to triple checking his wiring and confirming each detail with customers, Hale always has time to answer any questions.

“I can honestly say I like my job,” says Hale. “The people are cool, and Coastal is really good to me.” The job can, however, have its stresses. So Scotty finds leisure in other activities – off campus.

When he’s not activating your phone or rewiring the module, Hale likes to tinker with his 1966 Chevy truck – a 4-wheel-drive beauty he’s had for 25 years. He is also working to restore a house after it suffered severe fire damage. Scotty, who is divorced, has lived there rent-free for the past three years, reconstructing it from the ground up – all by himself.

“It’s been a long rough road, but this goes to show what one person can do if you set your mind to it,” says Hale about the gruesome project. “I made it up in my mind that this devastation was not going to lick me, and I stuck to my guns. But had it not been for my wonderful, caring friends here at Coastal, I don’t know how I would have accomplished such an overwhelming task.”

Hale has a daughter, Stephanie; grandson, Timmy; son-in-law, Larry; and step-grandson, Nick.

“Scotty truly is a remarkable person,” says Dixie Dyson, student assistant in ITS. “He is the hardest working individual, respectful to all of his fellow employees, and has the best personality.”

Others agree.

“He is the hardest working guy in the ITS department,” says Ann White, administrative assistant in ITS. “He always makes himself available to help and is always willing to assist in whatever you need. I can’t say enough about him – he’s just a wonder man.”

Hale received the Staff Excellence Award for Support Staff from 2002 - 2003, an award presented annually to recognize exceptional non-faculty university employees.

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