“I wake up excited to go to work each day,” shares Gary “Hawk” Hawkins, a Milliken floor covering research associate, “and this is, I think, the key to being happy with your job for a long time.”
Gary is certainly an expert on a long, fulfilling career. Today, he celebrates 50 years with Milliken & Company. Gary began his career with Milliken Electronics and after four years, transitioned to Milliken Reseach where he began working on the Millitron project, the company’s proprietary digital carpet printing technology. For over 46 years, Gary has worked on 34 Millitron production machines which have been installed in 10 different countries. He is a key leader in the design and support of every system involved in this industry-leading technology.
Nicknamed “Hawk” by his team members for his uncanny ability to spot and identify problems with any circuit board, Gary has an incredible skill set surrounding electronic lab test equipment, including data analyzer, oscilloscopes and Millitron test stands. These vital skills are important to the Millitron Development team. Gary has spent most of his 50 years at Milliken working in the same location, the Roger Milliken Center in Spartanburg, South Carolina- highlighting his dedication to the Millitron project and the company.
“I worked hard to learn all I could, and that doesn’t stop even today.” Gary is always looking to learn new things, as he feels continuous learning unlocks so many opportunities. Take electronics and computers, for example. That emphasis helped lead Gary to where he is today. “I learned from some really good guys, and I’m still learning from really good guys.” While he firmly believes in lifelong learning and in utilizing mentors to help advance your career, Gary has since stepped into a mentor role, sharing his knowledge with the next generation of Milliken associates.
Outside these mentor-mentee relationships, Gary has well-established friendships with associates, some for more than 30 years. He has been known to share excess produce – gardening being a personal hobby – with his co-workers seasonally. He credits his long tenure at Milliken to these relationships, as well as to the love and support of his wife and two daughters.
True to his word, Gary is a hallmark of what it means to be a Milliken associate. Always engaged, always striving, and dedicated to professionalism and hard work, he is a model associate and one we are proud to celebrate. For Gary, he has immense pride in being a Milliken associate. “It’s a worldwide company with great success. I just enjoy working here and being part of the team. It makes me proud to know I’ve contributed to this in some small way.”
Congratulations to Gary on his 50-year service award.