Willis born a traveling man

Mike Willis is heavily involved in the Alabaster community through his job at Publix. (contributed)

Mike Willis is heavily involved in the Alabaster community through his job at Publix. (contributed)

By SANDRA THAMES / Community Columnist

Raised in a military family, Mike Willis knew the pack up and go routine right away. Born in Valdosta, Ga., his family then moved for six years to Michigan and from there to his favorite location: Bitburg, Germany.

A beautiful land of old castles and ruins, this base was perfect for young boys and their explorations. Willis and some of his friends loved to dig in mountainsides or bunkers for imbedded World War II souvenirs. What an adventure!

For high school, Willis was back in Edison, Ga., to graduate from Calhoun County High.

Introduced to his wife, Robin, through family members, the couple have now been married 35 years. Son Phillip works for Publix in the dairy plant in Athens, Ga., as an electrician. Phillip and his wife Susan are parents of Willis’ granddaughter, Kapri age 3.  Son Adam works at NASA in Huntsville as an aerospace engineer and is married to Crystal.

After 15 years with IGA, Willis started with Publix in 1993 as a meat cutter. He transferred with Publix from Albany to Warner Robbins to Macon, Ga., then finally to Alabaster, where he became store manager in June 2002.

Publix and the growing area of Shelby County have been a good fit for Willis. He and his store are very actively involved in Alabaster’s CityFest

Willis loves watching the youngsters he has hired and worked with grow to develop into adults and perhaps move up the line into management.

“Publix is a great company to work with in every way. It is our culture to grow Publix associates to provide a pleasant shopping experience” said Willis.

Willis said he personally strives to have the best store for his customers with great service and friendly associates.

A lover of golf, Willis would love to play the Augusta National Course then head to Ireland, Scotland and Australia if money were no object. More travel, spending more time with Kapri and building a retirement home on a mountain would be more obtainable goals.

Mike Willis is quickly recognizable to folks in Alabaster. Upbeat, smiling, friendly and helpful, he is a true Publix asset.