An emotional Ronnie Hawkins looked back on his 43 years as a civil engineer and 32 years as president of Hawkins-Weir Engineers Inc. at his retirement reception Aug. 2 at the Hawkins-Weir office in Van Buren.

"I have been able to take advantage of the opportunities afforded me," Hawkins said. "I have been blessed to have a quality staff which works together as a part of my life."

He said Larry Weir was instrumental in establishing Hawkins-Weir as a firm which employs 32 in offices in both Van Buren and Little Rock.

Upon his retirement, Brett Peters will be president and Barry McCormick chief financial officer. Vice presidents will be Kyle Salyer, Jeremy Shores and Larry Yancey.

"It will be up to you, Brett and Barry, to take Hawkins-Weir to the next generation," Hawkins said. "In 30 years you can be as big as you want to be."

Peters thanked Hawkins for the positive impact he made on his life.

"Your hard work, honesty, integrity and service to clients has made Hawkins-Weir what it is today," Peters said.

Crawford County Judge John Hall was on hand to read a proclamation naming Aug. 2 as "Ronnie Hawkins Day."

"Ronnie is an avid golfer and fisherman," the proclamation reads. "We hope that he can participate in both activities in his retirement. Also, everyone that works with, works for and is honored to know Ronnie says he is just an ‘All around genuinely nice guy.’ "

Hawkins was born in Alma to Joe and Freda Hawkins.

"Joe once served as mayor of Alma, so Ronnie learned at an early age to be community minded and to help others," Hall noted.

Hawkins graduated from Alma High School in 1966 where he participated in many sport and school activities. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Arkansas, he went to work for Rogers and Associates in Fort Smith.

In 1980, Hawkins opened his own sole proprietor consulting engineering business in Van Buren. Larry Weir joined him as a partner in 1982, forming Hawkins-Weir Engineers Inc.

Hawkins-Weir Engineers Inc. is a regional full-service consulting firm that specializes in engineering, surveying, planning and construction management, providing professional services to municipal, industrial and private enterprise clients.

Hawkins is immediate past president of Arkansas State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors, served as secretary of the board of trustees for Fort Smith Regional Health Care Foundation and is a member of First Presbyterian Church in Fort Smith and the board of directors for the Degen Foundation.

He married Dixie Howard in 1974 and they have two sons, Jason and Bryan, and one granddaughter, Rhyan, the daughter of Jason and Erin Hawkins.