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Mickey ‘legend’ a story for the ages

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The Sikes family, from left: Kevin (son), Denton (grandson), Cookie (wife), Gene, Roger (brother), Helen (sister-in-law).

The Sikes family, from left: Kevin (son), Denton (grandson), Cookie (wife), Gene, Roger (brother), Helen (sister-in-law).

On August 24, 1966, Gene Sikes reported to Mickey Truck Bodies for his first day of work at the High Point, NC truck body and trailer manufacturer. Exactly 50 years to the day, on August 24, 2016, his family, his Mickey colleagues past and present, and Mickey executives gathered to celebrate his half-century anniversary with the company, the longest tenure of any Mickey employee since the late Carl Mickey, Sr., the founder’s son. In between those 50 years, Gene held a wide variety of jobs and eventually worked his way up to VP of Manufacturing, a position he held throughout the company’s critical transformative years in becoming a world class manufacturer and market leader in all of its customer industries.

Gene Sikes flanked by Carl Mickey (left) and Dean Sink.

Gene Sikes flanked by Carl Mickey (left) and Dean Sink.

In front of a standing-room-only audience, Mickey President Dean Sink proclaimed August 24, 2016 “Gene Sikes Day.” He also announced that beginning in 2017 and every year thereafter on that same date – August 24 – Mickey Truck Bodies will present the annual “Gene Sikes Award” to the employee that “best exemplifies the can-do attitude of Gene Sikes.”

“The words ‘I can’t,’ and ‘It can’t be done’ were never part of Gene’s vocabulary, and it didn’t matter what we asked him to do,” said Dean. “He preferred words like ‘Let’s get it done,’ and ‘I can do that.’”

Matt Sink

Matt Sink

Carl Mickey, Jr., added, “When Gene told you he was going to do something, you could consider it done. No follow up. No questions asked. If you were his friend, he had your back. If you weren’t his friend, he was still going to be there for you. He has been one of Mickey’s most valuable assets.”

Matt Sink, Mickey’s current VP Manufacturing talked about learning the ropes under his mentor. “Gene was my first boss, and right from the start he taught me the importance of doing everything the right way, whether it was working with a lawn mower or running a plant. But the most important thing he taught me was about heart. You have to really care about what you are doing and you have to really care about the people you work with. If you do that you’ll have a much better chance for success. If you don’t care about your job or your teammates, you don’t stand a chance.”

Dean wrapped up the festivities by quoting “baseball’s greatest player” – Babe Ruth — who said, “Heroes get remembered, but legends never die.” That’s because “the stories live on,” said Dean. “We will be telling stories about Gene Sikes around here forever.”

Throughout his Mickey career, Gene did more “doing” than “talking,” and he stayed true to form in his turn at the podium. “It’s been a long and great trip being part of this company’s growth. I’ve met a lot of good people and got to watch them grow. I’ll see ya’ll down the road.”

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