The James Hawk fileBy Chris Sweeney
Name: James L. Hawk
Titles: Chairman, Toyo Tire Holdings of Americas Inc.; president and plant general manager, Toyo Tire North America Manufacturing Inc.; and senior corporate officer, Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd.
Location of business: White, Ga.
Primary business: Tire manufacturer that produces both Toyo and Nitto brand tires for passenger, light truck and sport-utility vehicles.
Industry history: Has 40 years of industry experience, starting as a project engineer for General Tire in 1973. He has held engineering and production management positions at General Tire, Continental General, GTY Tire Co. and Yokohama before joining Toyo in 2004 as vice president of operations and plant general manager for its White plant.
He was promoted to president of Toyo Tire North America Manufacturing in 2008. At that time, he also became the first—and only—American to be appointed to the board of Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. as senior corporate officer. In 2012 he was appointed chairman of Toyo Tire Holdings of Americas.
Family: His wife, Susan, also worked at General Tire. They have a 32-year-old son, Chris, who is married. Hawk’s father was a truck tire builder for Firestone, where he worked for 39 years, nine months.
Ready to serve: Hawk and his wife wanted Toyo to make an impact in the community beyond donations to United Way, scholarship funds and local softball teams. They helped to generate the idea for the Bartow Community Christmas Luncheon in 2009. The firm provides lunch for people in need within the community.
The response has been very strong; the company has had to turn away volunteers in years past because of the number of applicants. Churches and community centers donate volunteers and help provide food. County cops donate time to direct traffic. Churches donate their vans to help shuttle people to the luncheon.
Last year Hawk said it served more than 1,500 a full Christmas meal. Families can take a dinner home if they choose. Churches hold clothing drives in correlation with the event. The luncheon rotates at various sites within the community. The fifth event will be held on Dec. 21.
“I feel very, very proud of that, just to help conceptually put that together,” Hawk said. “As a company, we provide the financial resources to go with that. It’s probably one of the most significant and satisfying things that we’ve done here to help the community.”
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