(Editor’s Note: James R. Woodzell, III is the first employee to be featured in a series of personality feature stories designed to highlight dedicated employees who have served the same employer in the Alleghany Highlands for 20 years or more).
James R. Woodzell, III, son of James R. Woodzell, Jr. and Brenda Woodzell of Hot Springs, has excelled as an employee of Forrest Park Truck & Equipment, Inc. at 2809 Douthat Road, Clifton Forge for more than 20 years.
James, who gave up pitching for the baseball team as well as playing basketball for Bath County High School during his junior year in 1981, went to work after school for Paul Bratton who was running a heating business at the time.
After working for Bratton and graduating from BCHS in 1983, James went to work for Woody’s Auto Parts in Mitchelltown where he gained valuable experience.
On Oct. 16, 2000, James was hired by David Crawford, owner of Forrest Park Truck & Equipment, Inc. (commonly known as Clifton Forge NAPPA Auto Parts), to work in the parts department.
Over the past two decades, the ownership has changed hands from David to Denise Crawford and on to her son, Ashley Crawford.
By 2003, James had worked his way up the corporate ladder to become the sales manager, a position he continues to hold.
James considers his most difficult problem to cope with is the supply and demand problem, and he noted that since COVID-19 disrupted the supply chain, delays and inflation have become major problems.
“Last Saturday, my mom and I went to the grocery store, and the price of 18 eggs was $6.89, the same kind of eggs that were $1.89 before the pandemic,” James recalled.
He concluded, “Inflation is the worst problem.”
With inflation at a national 40-year high in the United States, the price of auto parts prior to the pandemic had risen at 3.5 percent to 3.9 percent annually, but the price for auto parts due to inflation has risen by more than 20 percent. Combined with delayed deliveries the inflation problem continues to plague the auto parts industry.
James’s wife, Cindy Pritt Woodzell, graduated from BCHS in 1985. The couple has two children, Heather Dudley, a registered nurse who is married to Jamie Dudley, an Altec employee, and a son, Eric Woodzell who works for Dominion Energy at Back Creek and is married to Allison Kincaid Woodzell.
James has been blessed with two grandchildren, Heather’s daughter, Jayne, who is three, and Alyssa, Eric’s daughter who is one.
James acknowledged that Danny Hiner at Woody’s was his mentor.
As a family man, James is an employee who is dependable, knowledgeable, and accommodating, and after nearly 40 years in the auto parts business, he is looking forward to retiring soon.