Bill Relf challenges his readers with stories interlaced with intrigue and inspiration. His roots are in the coal mines and steel mills of Western Pennsylvania and the arts of Chautauqua, New York. His early education was more through the novels he read, than the schools he had the misfortune to attend. With his writings he explores the rich interplay of business, politics, culture, and religion on the global stage.
Bill Relf’s life was shaped by novels. When he was twelve years old, his mother told him that he had a responsibility to bring money into the house. Thus, he began a business of lawn care, house painting, and snow shoveling. He drew inspiration from novels about a boy starting a business with a small bulldozer retrieved from a pond, about a berry stand that grew to an amusement park, and many others, while he grew his business until age twenty. From these roots he earned a Master of Business Administration and founded six manufacturing and consulting businesses.
His technical and business consulting companies had contracts in fuel cell and solar energy analysis and development. He created business plans for small companies and for the research department of a large corporate utility.
From political and spy novels he learned about geopolitics. He studied economic and political geography. He managed a Congressional campaign. He earned a BA in economics and a PhD in International Relations, which led into the history of nations, how they develop and why they wage wars. He gave a business seminar in Iran. When China opened up in the early 1980’s, he was in China seeking business opportunities. Through his business travels he observed the modernization of China and Southeast Asia. He analyzed the industrial capabilities of Zimbabwe, Africa, before its catastrophic decline. When the Soviet Union collapsed, he pursued the unlikely task of selling a Soviet battleship to an Asian government.
As a university professor he taught strategy, international management, and entrepreneurship. He taught at California State University, the Peter Drucker School of Management at Claremont Graduate University, and Nanyang Technological University of Singapore.
Researching for a novel, he travelled through the jungles of Laos, Malaysia, Thailand, and Burma, and rode a tramp steamer through the Malacca Straits to Brunei.
Using his diverse experiences, he creates stories and characters for his reader that entertain and challenge one’s thinking, and provide just a little bit of learning.