Tim Will either has undiagnosed ADHD or his mother-in-law was right: he just can’t hold a steady job.
The US Army, graduate school and the Peace Corps had almost prepared Tim Will to live and work as a neighborhood planner in the 9th Ward of New Orleans – 25 years before Katrina made it famous. From there he was recruited into the corporate telecommunications industry where again, Army duty in a nuclear war room and a Peace Corps-instilled appreciation for exotic cultures enabled him to excel in corporate processes and systems. Tired of constant travel and looking for new, meaningful challenges, he evolved from corporate drop-out to inner city Miami substitute teacher, and within a year became a full time AP History teacher in Miami’s nationally acclaimed DASH-Design and Architecture Senior High.
Drawn to the beauty of western North Carolina by the movie The Last of the Mohicans, Tim and his wife moved to the foothills of the Appalachians where, they thought, farming and teaching would occupy their golden years. This was not to be.
Discovering that the region’s natural beauty disguised economic collapse, Tim formed the non-profit Foothills Connect Business and Technology Center. He and his staff encouraged and helped finance expansion of broadband infrastructure, taught traditional Appalachian small farming and created the Farmers Fresh Market Initiative, which centers on an online marketplace where local farmers sell produce to eager urban buyers. The success of the Farmers Fresh Market Initiative has elicited interest from across the country, prompting The Civic Ventures Foundation to award Tim its 2009 Purpose Prize, and Hewlett Packard Corporation to present him with its 1st Annual Hackborn Award for the use of Technology in Social Innovation.