Private Eye of Birmingham
Matthew Holder – the Dirty South Investigator – has lived his whole life in the South, spending his early years in the Southwest, his formative in the Mid-South, and most of his adult in the Deep South (here in Alabama). He is the product of his grandparents, who worked their way out of the Great Depression, and his parents, who built on the life that their parents struggled to give them. He began working formally at age 16, sacking groceries, bringing in carts, seating restaurant customers, busing and cleaning their tables, washing dishes, and cleaning bathrooms. He often worked weekend nights at his position in the restaurant by himself, and was later asked to expedite food delivery as well.
Mr. Holder was a certified trainer before the age of 18, and upon reaching that age began additionally waiting tables. Doing three jobs at the restaurant, he spent months without a day off just to get the bills paid and have a daily meal. He later became a cook, and was asked to enter the kitchen management program.
This was done while pursuing college full-time, spending his freshman and sophomore years at the University of Memphis working 45-55 hours per week. He later decided to discontinue the program to focus on his university work, and worked various full-time jobs (warehouse work, loading freight, doing janitorial work, etc.) until completing his education. While there, he earned 2nd Place honors in the school’s annual Giem and Collins Writing Contest (1999) and finished with Magna Cum Laude honors and a B.A. in English.
Still, after his college years, Matthew spent more time doing dirty and arduous jobs, such as filling and loading large product orders, additional restaurant work, taking inventory of a large establishment, stocking product, etc. It was not until the last decade that he began doing professional work, serving the citizens of the State of Alabama determining federal benefit eligibility. After 10 ½ years with the State, an Atlanta Regional Service Award, and multiple quality commendations from offices around the country, he decided to leave to pursue the avenue of private investigation.
What does this history have to do with Private Investigative work?—well, quite a bit. Even during his years in the office, Matthew never forgot the work ethic instilled in him through his grandparents and parents. He took a blue-collar approach to white collar work—tackling problems head on, fighting and slogging through the muck to get each job done right. It is this same tack that he offers to his clients now—a readiness to apply intellectual and analytical skill with the grit and perseverance of manual labor. There is no glitz and glamour, just “Down and Dirty” efforts to get the job done, and elbow grease to provide clean and polished results.
WHO NEEDS A PI?
You may need a Private Investigator for a variety of reasons, whether you are an individual, a business, an insurance company, or an attorney. The practice of this trade is inclusive of a broad scope of activities, but the essence of the job of a Private Investigator is to obtain information. He must discover the facts and reveal the truth of a matter, regardless of whether it meets the hopes and expectations of his clients. After all, even disappointing information makes one aware of reality and enables him to prepare and act accordingly.
PERSONAL-FAMILIAL, BUSINESS, AND LEGAL SERVICE
The information one needs will vary. A wife or husband may suspect infidelity or misconduct on the part of the other, and proof of this may be necessary to making decisions about whether to remain in a marriage or divorce. Perhaps an ex suspects his/her counterpart of negligence or misconduct when alone with their children, and their welfare is at stake. Evidence of this (or lack thereof) will enable parents and/or the court to make decisions to protect the children and do what is in their best interests. Maybe alimony is not being paid, or a spouse has remarried or is living in a supportive relationship with another person. A person owing alimony can be located, and a spouse receiving alimony can have that reduced or terminated–depending on the amount of benefits being received from the assisting cohabiter or the unknown new spouse.
A Private Investigator can also do background checks of various kinds. Say one member of an engaged couple has some lingering doubts before “taking the plunge.” There is just something that doesn’t sit right, and needs to be resolved. A background check is a wise thing for any prospective bride or husband to be, and could prevent a host of problems, including injuries or divorce down the line.
Background checks are also essential for companies considering a potential employee, for a couple determining which babysitter to hire, for one business entity considering partnership with another, for someone thinking about hiring a contractor to do work on his home, etc.
Another avenue of Private Investigation consists of fraud detection—gathering the proof of fraudulent accident, disability, or Worker’s Compensation claims. A PI can help with this and save an insurance or other company thousands of dollars—in some cases thousands upon thousands.
As alluded to above, Private Investigators help find missing persons. Whether the person is a runaway teen, a true parent of prospective adoptive child, the missing heir of an estate, a person attempting to escape creditors, or a witness in a criminal investigation who has vanished, a licensed PI with legal resources not at the general public’s disposal can be invaluable.
Other PI trade plies include vehicle GPS tracking for employers or for parents suspecting their teens of dangerous behavior, detecting tapping of a landline phone, working undercover in the workplace to investigate complaint or gather evidence of misconduct/illegal activity, or serving court summons or subpoenas. A PI often does the latter with much greater alacrity and efficiency than your local law enforcement agency.
We’ve all been hurt or scammed. Human trust is a sacrosanct quality necessary in all joint human endeavors, and we know the violation, pain, anger and loss that its fracturing brings. It is in essence a disregard for our own humanity, an active statement that we are less than the person breaking our trust. In cases where this severed union results in substantial and material loss or bondage, the PI can help right those wrongs and unloose those shackles. At heart, the PI is a private and quiet public servant.