William “Woodie” Shiver is the first recipient chosen for IA Stage’s Employee of the Month initiative in 2023. A steady presence in the metal fabrication shop for 12 years now, he was pretty stoic about being chosen this month. He said all you need to do is “work hard so you get recognized for the little bit that you contribute. And don’t goof off.”

Born and raised in Mobile, AL, he moved to Georgia when he was around 25 with a Chemical Engineering degree from the University of South Alabama. He spent several years there as a lab tech providing quality control for a now closed wine company in Atlanta. I asked him how he got from Georgia to Florida, and Woodie deadpanned, “A moving van.”

What actually happened was that he attended a wedding here in ’99, met someone, and decided that he needed to get out of Georgia and start a new life.  Woodie moved here in 2000. He and his wife, Paula, a radiological interventions nurse and the person he met in ‘99, are happily settled in Sanford with their three rescue cats: Smaug, Tele, and Lauralynn.

Outside of work, Woodie’s into D&D and role-playing games. He and Paula are both crafters, and recently took a class on how to forge knives out of railroad ties. Woodie’s making a leather sheath for Paula’s, using the same tools that he uses for metal working. Leather is his go-to material when he’s hobbying at home. Both like to get out into the community and regularly attend a variety of local events. This month alone, they’ll be out and about at the 4th annual Sanford Seafood Festival in downtown Sanford, the Asian Lantern Festival at the zoo, and the 45th annual Central Florida Scottish Highland Games in Winter Springs!

The gift from IA Stage to recognize Woodie’s good work is a pair of tickets to see the Blue Man Group at the Peabody Auditorium in Daytona Beach the first weekend of February. Woodie told me that Paula is excited about the show, and has rearranged her schedule to go. “I’ve never been to Daytona to do something,” he said.  I think Blue Man Group is a perfect event to kick off next month’s schedule. Congratulations, Woodie, and thank you for all that you do.