Nurmi Simm chose to use the nom-de-plume, Cowboy Billy Hill, because it resonates better in a western setting than his real name. In the small moving business, it also has echoes of The Beverly Hillbillies.
Nurmi Simm was born in Estonia before the Second World War. As a child, he experienced both Russian and German occupation of that small Baltic country. With his family, he fled with tens of thousands of other refugees from the second Soviet occupation of Estonia in 1944. He spent four years in refugee camps in Germany before his family was able to emigrate to Canada. He grew up in a small northern Alberta town and graduated from high school there. He earned B.Sc. and B.Ed. degrees at the University of Alberta and, for several years, taught high school science and mathematics in Alberta.
When the first computers appeared, Nurmi joined IBM in Vancouver and served as a technical representative to a variety of IBM customers. His job was to make computers do what salesmen said they would do. After three years with IBM, he spent a year in Geneva with the United Nations as a computer programmer. On returning to Alberta, Nurmi pursued a computing career in Edmonton. He was active in the Data Processing Management Association and served a year as president of the Edmonton chapter. He actively pursued interests in canoeing, flying, skiing, and travelling. He retired from the computer industry as Director of the Systems Division at the Edmonton Police Department.
In a post-retirement occupation, he changed careers and operated a small moving service. His experiences in the vagaries of that business form the narrative of his book, Make Your Move.