“I enjoy the community things. It’s just a way of meeting people, of serving the community and God,” Ector said.
A job transfer with Olin Corporation brought Ector to Cleveland in 1987.
“The big city attracted me coming out of college, but when we were thinking about having children it just seemed a good thing to go to a smaller town,” Ector said.
He does enterprise software information technology work for the company. He said he enjoys getting to work with new technology.
“I learn about all of the new gadgets. While other people are reading about it, I may be actually doing something with it.”
A typical day at Olin includes “enabling and coordinating the activities of others.” He said he has worked in many of the positions of those who work under him.
Ector grew up in Memphis, but he has lived in various areas in Tennessee, Texas and Lake Charles, La.
He said now Cleveland is home, and he does not intend on leaving.
“It’s grown on me,” Ector said.
In 2003, Ector and his wife, Barbara, founded Unity Christian Ministries as co-pastors.
Ector said he has 23 years of pastoral ministry experience, and 26 years in preaching ministry.
“For me it was not a career choice. ... It’s something that I see as a duty as a Christian, based on my gifts and talents and what I consider to be the call of God in that area,” Ector said.
As a local minister, Ector is a part of the Cleveland-Bradley County Ministers Fellowship.
“That ministers association was started predominately in the black community and it catered to both full-time and bi-vocational pastors. The meetings were primarily in the evening hours for that purpose,” Ector said.
It was this organization that pressed local school systems to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day and created the local Dream Keeper academic award.
“When you think about what happens in many communities, the very best students will always be recognized and rewarded. There needs to be a lot of recognition below that level and not just from the home, but from the community,” Ector said.
The award became a way for the Fellowship to encourage local students.
“I’m pretty sure I’m the one who named it the Dream Keeper award,” Ector said.
The name was inspired by King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech.
“I still get chill bumps when I hear it,” Ector said.
Growing up, Ector lived in an urban community that pulled together to support one another.
“That strong inner-city community came out of necessity — the older people needing to keep an eye on the younger people to keep them from going astray,” Ector said. “It seemed like there was aways a street mother, someone who kept an eye on things and helped your parents to know what you were doing.”
Being a bivocational minister has its challenges, mainly time, according to Ector. He said he has a strong team that keeps the ministry running smoothly.
He and Barbara have been married for nearly 32 years.
“We’re best friends. We enjoy each others company,” he said. “I’ve always thought if we were businesspeople we would be able to work together, and we do in fact minister together, which is very similar.”
He first saw Barbara as part of a drama team that came to perform at his church. However, it was not until both of them had enrolled at UT-Knoxville that they met.
“I decided pretty early on that I was going to marry her,”Aubrey said. “Six years later, I did.”
The couple has two grown daughters and a nephew that they “finished raising” and often call son.
“I’m a person who has many varied interests, but it is always around that core of being a Christian believer,” Ector said.
Some of those varied interests include motorcycles, reading, writing, electronic gadgets and — in his younger days — photography.
“I never went to the extent of developing my own film, but I fully intended to,” Ector said.
Ector said something else captured his interest before he reached that point.
His interest in writing led Ector to write a work of Christian fiction called “Second Chances.” The book serves as a fundraiser for Unity Christian Ministries.
Another position Ector holds in the Cleveland community is chairman of the Cleveland Utilities board, one he cannot quite remember how long he has served on. Ector said his professional background and degree in electrical engineering made the position a good fit for him.