Elected: April 5, 2001
Inducted: August 17, 2001
Born: February 3, 1951
John L. Hawkins III, married Karen in September 1981 and together they are raising two children, Nicole and John IV. John graduated from St. Andrew’s Prep School in 1969 and Santa Fe Community College in 1972 and attended the University of Florida.
In 1976, John entered the industry through the purchase of Orlando Wrecker Service. That same year he formed the JLH Sales Corporation that went onto become one of the top five Century Wrecker distributors for 1978-1980. John sold the business in 1981, joining Century shortly thereafter as a Sales Representative based in Colorado 1982, California 984 and Oregon 1986. While establishing these territories in 1988, he was given the title of Heavy Duty Specialist for the region west of the Mississippi and would place Century as the dominant large wrecker manufacturer. When Bill Miller began consolidating the fragmented manufacturing business, he tapped John to lead the large wrecker division and in 1994, he promoted him to Vice President of the Heavy Duty Division. Within this role, he has been active throughout North America, Europe, and the Asian rim in the development of heavy duty equipment, design and regulation.
John was a founder and sole financial supporter of the now powerful Professional Wrecker Operators of Florida. He would later support the growth of TRAA, CTTA OTTA and WTTA. He has been active with the fraternal group “Friends of Towing” since its founding in 1983 and often served as the colorful “Master of Ceremonies” for the induction into the Hall of Fame.
John has a strong and firm belief in training of the industry. From attending his first school in 1978 sponsored by Ross Kinman and Bill Jackson, he has gone on to attend, sponsor, support and/or teach no fewer than 100 sessions to date, in locations like the United States, Canada, Mexico, England, United Arab Emirates, China, Taiwan, Japan and Saudi Arabia. He has assisted in the designing and development of towing equipment of all designs since the mid 1980’s and shares several patents. He’s been responsible for construction of equipment specialized in city, county, state, municipal, military, airport and fire department applications, including the honored Los Angeles Fire Department. He is an industry representative to the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), spokesman to the Truck Maintenance Council (TMC), a past designer of driving competition courses and events and the past show chairman to many larger shows throughout the 1980’s.
To John it was an honor, a form of recantation, to be asked to speak at an event, talk at an annual meeting, go to a state capitol and fight for industry standards and legislation. Like his family members already within the “Hall of Fame” he stood for the betterment of our industry, but was humble by stating, “this tribute is because of the many who have allowed me to be their spokesman and to all of them, thank you.”