By Lisa Farmer
DUNN – Godwin Manufacturing in Dunn was named Large Business of the Year by the Dunn Area Chamber of Commerce at its annual banquet held Thursday, March 24th.
Owner Pat Godwin, Sr. accepted the award.
Godwin Manufacturing and the other companies in The Godwin Group located in four states is the largest privately held corporation that makes truck equipment. Dunn has been dubbed Truck Body Capital of the World.
Godwin started his company from scratch on April 1, 1966, when he left his job as a Pepsi-Cola salesman, unplugged his wife’s stove and plugged in his welder, starting business in his back yard. His wife thought it was an April Fool’s joke. The business now has a global footprint.
Chamber President Wesley Johnson said he’s been in South America and seen the trucks with Dunn, NC, on the mudflaps and he is reminded of his hometown.
Presenter Terry Whittenton said, “From one man’s dreams to an industry leader is no small feat.”
Speaking to the Godwin family, Whittenton said, “Four generations working in a company is not just a job, it’s a legacy.”
He also mentioned the company’s support of the community and its partnership with Harnett County Schools for training and employment.
Godwin said, “It’s a great honor to receive this award.
“Everything is great. We’ve come a long ways,” he said, thanking his employees, “the best in the nation.”
Godwin then preceded to thank others in his witty way, with the whole crowd in stitches.
He thanked his friend since childhood, the late Oscar Harris, former mayor of Dunn.
“He’s gone now and kinda left me behind, but not for too long,” said the 80-year-old Godwin.
“Family means everything to me. We’re not family at work, I believe everybody calls me Pat,” he said.
He said the company “is in the best shape it’s ever been in.”
He said he asked his bankers to rank him from one to 100 and they gave him 95.
“Why not 100?” he asked. “They said we don’t give anybody a 100. I’ve been working on it since.”
He recalled his wife, the late Judy Godwin, and thanked his new friend, Susan Byerly, who accompanied him to the banquet.
Finally, he thanked God.
“The Lord has worked through me to show others what they can do. I give God the glory. If I brag, I brag on the Lord.”
Godwin Manufacturing makes dump bodies and snowplows through the Good Roads line. Also in Dunn, there is the Allied division that makes mobile snowplow equipment. The Godwin Group also makes hoists through Champion, also located in Dunn, where the company is headquartered. Dump bodies are also manufactured in Kentucky at RS/Godwin, in Ohio at Godwin-Galion and in Utah at Godwin-Williamsen.