On April 5, 1957, Charles married his high school sweetheart, Joyce “Jo” Warren; they were 18 years old.
Charles enrolled at Jones County Junior College in Ellisville, MS on a basketball scholarship. Upon graduating from JCJC, Charles enrolled at Mississippi State University in the School of Liberal Arts. He was not allowed to enroll in Mississippi State’s Engineering school because he had not yet taken the course “plane geometry” in high school. Charles participated in a night geometry class at Starkville High School, which allowed him to be permitted into the School of Engineering.
Jo worked at Mississippi State’s Laundry for $0.65 an hour to help finance Charles’ education where she received a PHT degree (put hubby through). In January of 1961, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.
Upon returning to Louin, Charles went to work for Neco Electrical Products Corporation in Bay Springs, MS. In 1963, while employed with Neco, he opened a small machine and welding shop with partner, A.T. Land. The venture began in a livestock sale barn (the front wall of the “old barn” remains inside the new metal structure of Plant 1 today).
In 1969, Charles resigned from Neco and moved to the partnership business where he could devote all of his energies to Southern Welding and Machine Company. It wasn’t long before he purchased his partner’s interest, and by 1969 Charles formed a corporation and changed the name to Hol-Mac Corporation; with two additional stockholders as investors to help finance his endeavors.
In 1972, Charles purchased the two stockholders’ interest and started a joint venture with another manufacturer. This venture proved unsuccessful and he went broke, losing the newly built plant and equipment. He returned to the “old barn” and started from scratch. After losing everything, he explains, “ I got an MBA that you can’t get at Harvard or Wharton’s; I got it a lot quicker, but it cost a lot more than Harvard or Wharton’s.”
Today, Charles remains active in the day to day operations of Hol-Mac Corporation; spending the majority of his time educating and training machinists at Hol-Mac’s Research and Development facility.