Joe Hennings didn’t just grow up in Yadkin County - he helped build it.
Hennings is a retired engineer and the former president of John S. Clark Construction Co., based in Winston-Salem.
He and the company have helped build some of the most frequented buildings in the county, such as the YMCA building, East Bend Senior Center and the Yadkin Campus of Surry Community College (SCC).
Hennings grew up in East Bend and graduated in 1955 from what at the time was East Bend High School. He married his wife of almost 59 years Annette two years later and graduated from North Carolina State University in 1959.
Hennings earned a degree in civil engineering in Raleigh and then set out to use it. He began working for the Department of Transportation in the capital’s Roadway Design department.
“One of the projects I helped design was the intersection of New 421 and Baltimore Road,” Hennings said, focusing on the projects most Yadkin residents would relate to.
The bridge is the first overpass travelers see when they cross the Yadkin River into the county.
In 1960 Hennings and his wife moved back toward home. He took a job working in Winston-Salem and worked with the DOT undertaking roadway construction.
He was involved in paving Interstate 40 from Knollwood Street to Highway 801 in Davie County, along with Silas Creek Parkway from Reynolda Road to Parkway Plaza.
In November 1962 he began working for R.J. Reynolds in the company’s engineering department. He was on the team that designed the Stemmery in Davie County to separate the stems from the leaves on the tobacco plant.
In 1964 he went to work for Carolina Steel in the Salem plant - designing steel for former employer RJR’s Stemmery.
In February 1978 he began working for John S. Clark, the company he worked for until his retirement in 2001 as the company’s president.
During his time at John S. Clark Hennings constructed the YMCA building, SCC Yadkin Campus, Unifi spinning plant, Unifi’s T-5 plant, and several other Unifi projects.
His company also constructed Walmarts, shopping centers, and numerous other projects all across the southeast.
Perhaps one of his favorites is the East Bend Town Hall building.
Hennings’ company worked with the town to remove the bank vault from the old Yadkin Valley Bank building and built it into the town hall, where it now serves as the records vault for the town.
Hennings has also:
- Served on the committee that worked to consolidate Yadkin’s high schools into Forbush and Starmount High.
- Served three years on East Bend’s Recreation Corporation, which was formed when the East Bend Jaycees gave 14 churches the current softball field and adjoining property.
- Has been in the East Bend Ruritan Club since 1964, having served as president, secretary, treasurer, and board member.
- Served on the advisory committee for the East Bend Senior Center and supervised the center’s construction.
- Served eight years as Yadkin’s representative on the SCC board
- Served as the president of the East Bend Community Medical Foundation since 1972
- Retired from the East Bend Volunteer Fire Department
- Taught senior adult class at Stony Knoll United Methodist Church for 40 years, where he is a member
Most dear to his Hennings heart is his family.
He and his wife Annette have four sons: Kevin, Barry, Darron and Britt.
He and all four of his sons are graduates of North Carolina State University and are all Registered Professional Engineers.
“This accomplishment is something that I am extremely proud of,” Hennings said.
Hennings joked that the biggest raise he ever got was when his last son graduated from college. Between the five of them Hennings had paid tuition to NC State for over 21 years.
He is also the proud father-in-law of four daughters-in-law, and the grandfather to eight grandchildren.
Now retired, he spends his free time gardening, cutting wood, and traveling to watch his grandchildren play various sports.
To contact Taylor Pardue call 336-835-1513 ext. 15, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.