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Withers awarded 30th Boyd Davies Executive-in-Residence

20 April 2018
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On Apr. 26, Pratt Community College will recognize their 30th Boyd Davies Executive-in-Residence, owner and operator of Southwest Truck Parts, Dale Withers.

The Boyd Davies Executive-in-Residence program was implemented in 1988 by the Accounting and Business Department to give the students at PCC the opportunity to interact with a business person or persons from the area and learn about his/her experiences. Nominees come from a large background of fields, exhibit a long and successful career in business, and are willing to share that knowledge with our college community.

“The committee was pleased to select Dale Withers for this award. He has successfully owned and operated Southwest Truck Parts for many years, and he can help our students understand what it takes to build a successful business,” said Carol Ricke, business instructor. “Congratulations to Dale!”

Withers grew up in Pratt and graduated from Pratt High School in 1960. During his senior year of high school, he decided he wanted to follow his family’s footsteps and start a business. At the time, the Withers family owned a salvage yard and sold used items. Dale started a business similar to his family’s line of work during the end of the first semester of his senior year. Southwest Truck Parts originated in 1959 on Highway 54 and has since branched into a major employer in Pratt.

The company gears itself to selling new and used parts, as well as providing the service for heavy duty trucks. It has a subsidiary company, 54 Pickup, which is geared for light duty trucks. It has grown to include three parts stores in Ponca City, Enid, and Woodward, OK. It serves southern Kansas, northern Oklahoma, and ships all around the world.

Withers attributes his part of his success to the time he started the business.

“I started in the best of times,” said Withers. “When I started, trucks didn’t amount to anything. The economy of the world then shifted and trucks were being made bigger. I was there at the right time and the right place.”

Southwest Truck Parts has a number of employees who have been with the company for over 30 years. Withers feel that is another reason why the company has been successful. In order to keep the employees, he believes he and the company must take care of them, so they will take care of the company in return.

“We do have good people who have been around for a while, but we take care of them too,” said Withers. “They depend on you. I went to a Christmas party one year where 250 employees and their family members were present. I realized that I was responsible for every one of those mouths. I didn’t look at it that way before. Everything I did reflected on that little girl sitting out in the crowd. In order to keep employees, you have got to take care of them and their families.”

Withers is very active in the community and enjoys supporting it as a businessman and a citizen in Pratt. He takes pride in supporting the community and believes having a good relationship with the local community is crucial towards the success of a business. He donates his time and money to various local businesses and foundations, including the Pratt Community College Scholarship Auction, in which Southwest Truck Parts was the exclusive Platinum Underwriter in 2017 and 2018.

“When you do things you enjoy, you need to share it with your community,” said Withers. “They are the ones that give it to you. You’ve got to turn around and give it back to them. They are the ones that give you what you have.”
Withers believes the final piece to the majority of his success was his wife and former co-owner, Arlene.

“Arlene took care of the house. Since she passed, I have to do that, too,” said Withers. “If I had to do what she did, I wouldn’t be here. She would do the housework and once she was finished with that, she would come out to Southwest Truck Parts and work out here. She was a good woman.”

Southwest Truck Parts is located at 1630 E. 1st and they are constantly working on achieving their goal, which is exceeding customer expectations.

Withers will be honored at Pratt Community College Apr. 26 with a coffee reception for family and guests followed by a presentation at 11 a.m. in Carpenter Auditorium.