Aptonym: Kevin Sill, window shop owner
A: It really didn't. It was serendipitous, really. I was out of high school and was a busboy, and I told my girlfriend, who is now my wife, I mentioned I needed to find a better job, and she said one of her high school friends' dad has a window shop and he needs help, and he hired me on the spot. That was in 1976.
Yeah. The whole busboy thing. I had to share tips with the waitresses, and I just wasn't making a lot of money. And I was in college and frankly not studying anything in particular, and my parents always said, 'We will support you as long as you are in school,' so I went for a couple of years, taking a wide range of stuff, until I finally realized it just wasn't for me. Then my wife, Anina, helped me get this job.
We're a small business with six employees, and we manufacture windows and cut glass, and my first job was to make window screens. And I really enjoyed being part of a small company, and, through the years, I've been able to work at every aspect of window production and I've enjoyed all those different aspects. Finally, the owner and his wife decided to retire and he offered me the company. That was in 1989, and I've been owner ever since.
Q: Would you change your name if you could, and why or why not?
A: No I wouldn't. It fits, and it's an unusual name. I have seen a few Sills in the phone book, but I don't know any of them except my closest relatives, so it's unusual. I like my name.
Q: If you could choose another career, what would it be?
A: Other than when I was a kid and had childhood ideas, I wouldn't change careers. I really enjoy my work, the manual part, working with my hands and building things. Being an owner, there are certainly rewards but so many stresses, but fortunately, it was a good going business when I took it over, and it was real smooth transition. I think I would be terrified if I had to start up my own business today.
Q: How do you know when someone has picked up on the fact that your name is an aptonym?
A: Some people might say, 'You gotta be kidding me,' but I really don't introduce myself with my first and last name. Generally if they get it, it's on the business cards when they see it or it's through correspondence. And then a lot of people don't even get it or make the connection. Usually when I hand someone a business card, I'll kind of wait before saying anything until they make a comment, and sometimes they don't. Maybe they think it's a phony name?
Q: How do people react to the combination of your name and job? Do they get it? Any funny stories as a result?
A: Not really. My motto is, "You can't make a window without a sill," and that came from a friend of my wife's. No, it's not on my business card. Maybe I should put it on there.
Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.