Paths to Entrepreneurship: Heath Waters

September 6, 2019

 From working in a small cubicle to building them, Heath Waters’ journey is never ending. Waters, former owner of Bluewaters Equipment Rental in Cookeville, has actually been designing furniture for 5 years. He started working at a rental store in high school, then went to school at the University of Tennessee for logistics. After graduation, Waters worked with algorithms in an office cubicle, then quickly decided to enter the business world at the mere age of 25. Fast forward to the present, and he is now an extremely successful entrepreneur and mentor. 


Waters has recently made the decision to sell his company, Bluewaters Equipment Rental, to pursue a new entrepreneurial adventure in the furniture world. However, when he was the owner at Bluewaters, he made a conscious choice to focus hard on his staff. Waters often hired young men who were in their early twenties and teach them how to have a good work ethic. In the minds of some, he was a sort of father-like figure to the guys he hired. Waters had invested so much into his current staff that he was able to value their input when it came to new hires as well; the staff could explain what they knew of an applicant and what abilities he would bring to the company. If they knew someone wouldn’t work to the level Waters wanted, his staff would honestly explain why someone else would be better for the job. 


He also taught them the much needed skill of learning to pick their battles wisely, which leads to the truth that sometimes it’s best to step back and look at the situation differently. When situations got out of hand with unsatisfied customers, staff were taught to express generosity and to understand the reason why the customer was upset. “It’s just not worth the battle sometimes,” Waters explained. “The situation is not worth fighting over. Fighting doesn’t accomplish anything.” 


Showing his staff the correct way to react to a poorly started situation resulted in customers who would not only come back, but would also respect them and their work. Waters has also donated to help various clubs in the Upper Cumberland area, and has often donated his chairs and tables to different events. He values giving back to the community, and modeling for his staff the importance of community care and involvement. 


Waters now works for the furniture company, Indoff, which has been more of a passion these last several years. He enjoys meeting and dealing with the different people who come in. With this new venture, he is able to extend a helping hand to the ones who need it. If it seems like it’s beyond his power he still eagerly seeks to give them some kind of reassurance. In some cases, he will drive hours to help someone. 


Waters has been on a roller coaster of different obstacles, but has always kept his head held high and faced whatever has come his way. He has been handed various jobs in his life, and he has worked hard in everything that he has participated in. (His generosity doesn’t end with teaching young men respect and helping repair someone’s broken chair, either. Waters has also decided to help take over his dad’s call center in Nashville to allow his parents some time off, while also dealing with his ‘side gig’ at his furniture company.)


Listening to Waters’ interview makes one think that giving back to the community involves endless options - options that Waters was eager to find. The community is everyone. Waters has taught so many people, young and old, that all it takes is a smile and an hour of your day to give back.


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