We Are Agriculture is a year-long series that will highlight the hard-work done by employees across the Department of Agriculture. William Keedy, Maintenance Mechanic at the Robert G. Shaw Piedmont Triad Farmers Market, is one of those employees. Stay tuned each Wednesday here on the blog or any of our social media accounts and join us in honoring those who continue to drive our state’s agriculture industry forward each day!
Having a love for where you work and who you work with are important aspects to a successful career. William Keedy, Maintenance Mechanic at the Robert G. Shaw Piedmont Triad Farmers Market, grew up with a love for being outside and a mother who loved to garden. “I have learned a lot from my mother over the years because the garden is her happy place,” he said. “She truly taught me the joys of hard work and pursuing the things that you love to do.”
Prior to his position at the farmers market, Will spent several years as a butcher at his local grocery store. “Working in the meat and poultry area of the grocery store gave me a true appreciation for the farmers of this state and the agriculture industry in general,” he said. “I learned a lot about their side of things, which has helped me tremendously in my job here at the market because I can relate to them.”
In 2020, the job of Maintenance Mechanic became available at the farmers market and Will took a chance to apply. “I honestly didn’t think that I would get the job, but I was very hopeful,” he said. “I love the market and the people here, so I knew that I would enjoy it and do a good job.” Much to his surprise, Will got the job at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and has loved every minute since.
Each morning, Will starts the day by riding around the farmers market and noticing things that seem out of place, broken or in need of attention. “Especially during the summer we have a lot of afternoon storms, so I take notice of each tree limb that has fallen and needs to be picked up or fence that needs to be repaired,” he said. On a typical day, Will can be found maintaining the overall appearance of the farmers market facility by cleaning and stocking the bathrooms, trimming limbs off trees, mowing the grass, spraying the plants and flowers, cleaning up trash and more. “We are basically the front porch of the farmers market because the overall appearance of the market is the first thing that people see,” he said. “It could be the thing that convinces them to stop in on their way home from work or prompts them to make the market a weekend trip with their family, so it’s very important that we keep the grounds as presentable as they can be.”
Although Will loves being outside and networking with the farmers and vendors on the grounds, he wouldn’t trade anything in the world for the pride that he feels when visitors say how nice the market looks. “We get a lot of compliments here about the presentation of the market and how well the grounds are kept up,” he said, “and I take a lot of pride in that. The satisfaction of a job well done and hearing that the public notices our hard-work and appreciates it means more than they will ever know.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Will hasn’t had the opportunity to work on many big projects that the market has put on in the past, but he is looking forward to helping build the pumpkin house this fall. “Each year before the pandemic, the farmers market staff would build a house made out of pumpkins for children to go and play in and families to take photos at together,” he said. “I am really excited to lend a helping hand in creating this exhibit, which will start in about a month.” Will is also looking forward to some of the other grounds projects that the holidays will undoubtedly bring at the market.
When he is not working, Will can be found anywhere there is water and a fishing pole. “I love to fish,” he said. “Mostly I do a lot of freshwater fishing, but a buddy of mine has recently got me into saltwater fishing off of his boat.” The biggest freshwater fish he has caught is a 10lb bass here in North Carolina, and recently he and a friend caught a 50lb Red Drum off the coast! Join us in thanking Will for all of his hard work at the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market!