John and Karen
John and Karen Hawkins reside in Hixson Tn., a suburb of beautiful Chattanooga. Married since 1981 and blessed with two children a daughter Nicole and son John Lee.
Over Four Decades of Towing and Recovery
From 1976 to present, John has been involved with one industry, towing and recovery, and one manufacture, Century Wrecker now Miller Industries, (which you will easily see on it’s 44 acres facility at mile marker #10 on Interstate 75, just north of Chattanooga).
A renowned spokesman for the company and industry, he is a 2001 inductee to the Towing Hall of Fame, holder of several industries patents, designer of industry trends, world recognized, and certified Instructor for both Recovery and Towing.
But John always had a deep passion for his past times. Once boating, where he established a following on the Tennessee River in the 90’s and 2000’s with used Sea Ray yachts.
He was a member of the Chattanooga Yacht Club and served four years on the BOD. It was there in 2009 that he traded a Sea Ray for a Country Coach and that was the last boat John and Karen owned!
Ron and Penny Lee
Co-Owners of Country Coach. John always blames Ron and his brother Bob for the cost of all their fun!
Brian Pitts, Karen & Chris Stroup
Bus n Biker Rally in Arkansas
Walker Evans, John, Karen & Phyllis Evans
Bus n Biker Rally in Georgia
From here, he and Karen began their foothold into the Prevost family. Attending rally’s, Nascar races, football games, and events throughout the southeast. He was a featured guest instructor at the Indy FMCA National rally
The following month FMCA carried a feature article “ Do You Know What To Do If Your Coach Broke Down”. Together they have done towing seminars for Liberty, Country Coach, Winnebago, Prevost Prouds, Prevost Owner Group, Prevost Community, East Tennessee Luxury Coach, Mountain Falls, and many more.
Mountain Falls Ridge
Karen and John became owners at Mountain Falls, where he served on the Board as both Vice President and President during “The Ridge” development, today recognized as one of the premiere Class A Resorts
Chattanooga Racquet Club
But in 2016, he purchased the established Chattanooga Racquet Club, with a vision of a Sales and Storage facility for coaches, trailers and boats, while maintaining it plus 200 members.
Handling one to three coaches at a time as their main focus and spending time on the road with their coaches, brought their personal touch and knowledge to each of the buses...
Now as 2018 starts, they will soon break ground on a brand new five acre tract just south of the I - 24 and I -75 split in Chattanooga across from the Tennessee welcome center Exit # 1, in a state of the art new 13,200 sq. ft. building with indoor sales and storage.
The location will also offer a private camp ground, a 37,000 sq ft covered storage building and 3 acres of outdoor storage for both coach, trailers, and boats set in a country club background.
Both John’s and Karen’s coach background, knowledge, and instant friendship are what often close deals. “We don’t believe in high pressure sales, but rather explaining the product and how it could fit into the buyers needs and wants. Then let them make the decisions.”
Hall of Fame
2001 Inductee Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame
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.
John L. Hawkins, III
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.”