Looking back: Roger Drake recognized as top 10 chainsaw distributor

Published 12:41 pm Friday, October 9, 2015

by Clyde Parker

Oct. 9, 1965

Roger Drake was recently recognized as being one of the top 10 Poulan chain saw distributors in the United States. Recipients of this recognition must “outstrip” the rest of the nation in total units, total dollars, percentage gain in units, percentage gain in dollars and percentage of total industry-wide sales. Drake was third in the nation in the latter category.

Poulan president, Charles T. Beaird, said in making the award, “Mr. Drake’s achievement takes on added significance when you consider our Company’s rapid expansion in all parts of the United States. He competed most successfully against some very aggressive businessmen in 50 States.”

In addition to operating the Poulan franchise in the area, Drake is President of Franklin Equipment Co., Franklin Auto Supply Co. and Smithfield Auto Supply Co.

Franklin Equipment Co. is rapidly growing, manufacturing logging tractors in its facility on East Second Avenue in Franklin. Current product distribution is through dealerships located in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Florida.

Drake’s various companies are currently employing approximately 100 Franklin area people. Projections indicate employment level will reach more than 200 people over the next two years.

Hundley “graduates”

The 1965 New York World’s Fair proved to be an especially memorable and worthwhile experience for Mrs. Romine Hundley of Franklin. Mrs. Hundley, Director of Guidance at Franklin High School, was one of several educators who participated in a two-week free-enterprise economics course offered by Adelphi University. The course was conducted in Augus, at the Fair in the American Economic Foundation’s Hall of Free Enterprise.

Mrs. Hundley’s attendance at the workshop was made possible by a grant from Union Bag-Camp Paper Corp.

Union Bag-Camp, the American Economic Foundation and the National Schools Committee for Economic Education believe that the workshop will enable the many educators who attended to give their students a more concise realistic picture of the free enterprise system and how it works.

Commenting on the course, Mrs. Hundley said, “It was certainly worthwhile, but there was such a large amount of material to cover in such a short time; now, my job is to clarify and simplify this wealth of information so that my young students can understand it.”

Mrs. Hundley was referring to the 8th grade civics class she teaches in addition to her duties as Director of Guidance at Franklin High School.

“It was specifically for the FHS civics class that I decided to attend the workshop.”

“At Franklin,” Mrs. Hundley explains, “economics is taught only to the senior class. But, I think it’s important that the younger students get a preview of this very vital and complicated area of study. This way, they will have a better, more thorough, knowledge of the subject when they take the economics course in their senior year.”

Mrs. Hundley was joined in New York by her husband, Thomas, and the couple’s three young daughters. While in New York, the family enjoyed the spectacular sights and stimulating atmosphere of the World’s Fair.

Union Bag-Camp buys timberland

Union Bag-Camp Paper Corp. has reached an agreement to purchase some 217,000 aces of timberland in Alabama from W.T. Smith Lumber Co. of Chapman, Alabama, according to Union Bag-Camp president Floyd McGowan.

McGowan said the purchase includes a sawmill and several lumber distributing outlets.

Hugh Camp, Chairman of Union Bag-Camp, said, “This purchase will fulfill much of the timber requirements for our new paperboard mill now under construction in Montgomery, Ala. We will have significant land base for reforestation and additional timber growth to supply a substantial portion of our future needs.”

Union Bag-Camp is a major manufacturer of paper and paperboard, and is a leading producer of paperboard containers. The corporation operates 40 mills and converting factories scattered throughout the eastern part of the United States and several foreign countries.

Airport to have jet traffic

City Manager Harold Atkinson has announced a $135,860 runway expansion for the Franklin Municipal Airport. The expansion will lengthen one of the runways to allow jet aircraft to take off and land at the Isle of Wight County facility.

Earlier this year, Union Bag-Camp announced that they plan to base a jet airplane at the Franklin field and requested improvement some months ago.

Franklin will pay only 25 percent of the $135,860 improvement cost. The Federal Government will pay half the bill and the state will pay the other 25 percent. Fourth District Congressman Watkins Abbitt informed Atkinson of Congressional approval.

Construction will get underway around the first of the year. Completion is expected by late Spring.

Union Bag-Camp will be flying at least three planes in and out of the facility, including an 18-passenger jetliner. Franklin will become Union Bag-Camp’s Aviation Headquarters.

Franklin Equipment Co. and several other local companies and individuals operate smaller planes here. Charter service is offered.

CLYDE PARKER is a retired human resources manager for the former Franklin Equipment Co. and a member of the Southampton County Historical Society. His email address is magnolia101@charter.net