Haywood Community College recently named Danny Wingate, 1977 Business Administration graduate, Outstanding Alumni Award recipient for 2016. Wingate is Vice President of Haywood Builders Supply where he has worked for 44 years.

After graduating from Pisgah High School, Wingate was drafted into the Army and served in Vietnam. When he returned to Haywood County, he married and moved to Waynesville. Wingate got a job at Haywood Builders Supply in the warehouse and yard making $1.65 an hour. He soon decided to take advantage of the GI Bill and started evening classes at HCC. He wanted to learn the business aspect of the company. Wingate had a built in tutor with owner of Haywood Builders Supply. Philip Dooly would show him how the things he was learning in school related to the business of Haywood Builders.

Wingate explains that had night classes not been an option, he probably would not have been able to attend college while working full-time during the day. To be able to attend college so close to home was also a plus. “I remember many of my classmates were adults that also worked during the day and we enjoyed our classes together. We were all dedicated to learning things we could take back to our jobs. Some of these classes, such as business math, I was able to apply directly to my job.”

Even through the recent economic downturn, Haywood Builders has remained a strong business. Wingate says, “Haywood Builders has benefitted from 68 solid years of community support. We survived the downturn by having a great customer base, the support of the community, and hard work.”

Wingate and Haywood Builders have always been staunch supporters of the community. “All of our employees live here so it’s important that we give back to the community,” he explains. “We support our employees’ interest in the community.”

“Danny has been a huge role model for many people in our area including myself,” says Haywood Builders Supply employee Allen Newland. “In addition, he has been an outstanding servant to the community. He donates money and resources to community programs and sponsors youth programs throughout the county.”

Wingate serves on many boards in Haywood County. He is the vice chair of the Town of Waynesville Planning Board, treasurer of Haywood Advancement Association, a member of the Haywood Economic Development Council, Vice Chair of the board at Haywood Vocational Opportunities, and just recently rotated off the board at Mountain Projects.

Haywood Builders Supply has 35 employees and besides the Waynesville location, owns Cherokee Home Center on the Cherokee Reservation and Window Design Centers in Asheville, Cashiers, and Sylva. The business is employee owned.