Dancing through life: Gary '78 and
’78 and Cynthia Hawley are Danbury natives committed to living life
to its fullest- whether it is through running a family business,
volunteering within the community or dancing competitively.
Danbury has always been their home; their four
children were born and raised here as well.
Both attended Western
Connecticut State University and Gary Hawley graduated in 1978 with
a degree in business. A year later, he took over as owner and
operator for his father’s business, Hawley Construction Corporation.
“Growing up, I always worked for my dad, but my intention was never
to stay here,” Hawley said. “When the opportunity presented itself
though, I chose to run with it.”
The leadership transition came very naturally
for Mr. Hawley, who gradually transformed Hawley Construction into a
more commercially based company. Hawley Construction Corp. grew by
bringing more family members on board and taking on larger projects,
all while maintaining its culture as a local, family-owned business.
“The biggest advantage of being a family
company is your reputation,” Hawley explained. “As long as you put
out a good product and people trust you, that reputation will get
you through so many doors; people won’t be afraid to hire you.”
In the past thirty years, strong leadership and connections
have allowed the company to expand its clientele throughout the
state of Connecticut.
Gary’s wife, Cynthia, has also played a
significant role in the success. “To be a mother of four children is
not an easy task and her compassion and care for this family allowed
me to move forward with the company,” Hawley explained.
For Cynthia Hawley, her passion has been in
being a mother and wife, as well as a contributor to the community.
“I have always felt better doing something for someone else,” Ms.
Hawley said. “It is a natural feel-good for me and allows my
children to truly appreciate where things come from.”
Locally, Ms. Hawley has worked with the Danbury
Food Pantry and the planning of the Danbury Hospital golf
tournaments. Additionally, Mr. Hawley has served on many local
community boards that work toward the advancement of Danbury. The
two also have continued to be involved heavily with Western through
Mr. Hawley is a current member of the Western
Foundation Board and the Business Advisory Committee as well. Their
proudest joint contribution at WCSU has been the Hawley Family
Endowed Scholarship. Established in 2002, the scholarship is open to
Danbury residents who attended one of three local high schools
(Danbury High, Henry Abbott Tech or Immaculate), have maintained at
least a 3.0 GPA and plan to attend Western as a business major. The
Hawleys agree that this scholarship was important in getting back to
their roots and providing an opportunity to a fellow community
member. “It is nice to see younger generations with similar passions
and to be able to help them pursue their dreams,” Mr. Hawley said.
Though the Hawleys have busy agendas, they take
special interest in ballroom dancing, which has become more than
just a hobby.
“I have always wanted to ballroom dance- it was
my husband that needed a little extra convincing,” Ms. Hawley joked.
“Once my daughter began planning her wedding, it gave me an excuse
to sign up both of us for lessons.”
Surprisingly, dancing became an instant hit for
Mr. Hawley, who eventually encouraged his wife to consider taking up
the activity competitively. To date, the two have entered several
competitions with their instructors. “Our coaches at Fred Astaire in
Brookfield are young, happy and very passionate about what they do,
which makes learning easy and enjoyable,” Ms. Hawley said.
Dancing has required great discipline and
patience from the couple. The two practice individually with their
coaches a few times a week, and get together at least once a week as
a couple. Additionally, they noted, every weekend there is an
opportunity to go somewhere and be a part of the ballroom world.
Together, the Hawleys have traveled throughout Connecticut and taken
part in two competitions.
“Dancing has given our kids a lot to laugh
about, but it really has taught me about how much the two of us care
for each other,” Mr. Hawley explained.
“My goal is to dance with Gary more
competitively because we get such enjoyment out of being together
and doing something that is just for us and our personal enjoyment,”
Ms. Hawley said.
The future of their family business is an ever
present concern. Mr. Hawley hopes that when the time is right, the
business will be able to remain in the family and be passed down to
the next generation.
“We’ve always strived to be a hardworking,
honest family that respects one another, our company and community,”
Mr. Hawley said. “We want to keep that mentality, help Danbury grow
and see the best possible opportunities come this way.”
Western President James W. Schmotter presents the 2006-2007 WCSU
Foundation Community Service Award to members of the
Hawley family at the WestConn Society Luncheon.