Mack Bulldog Leaves Allentown
The gold bulldog statue that greeted workers and visitors of Mack Trucks for four decades and became as symbolic of Allentown as the PPL building and the Allentown Fair, left town quietly and unceremoniously Tuesday.

While workers went about their daily routines at the former Mack headquarters in south Allentown, the bulldog that came to represent the might of the company and its mammoth trucks, was hoisted onto a pallet and hauled away to the soon-to-be Mack headquarters in Greensboro, N.C.

"People have been coming from as far away as Florida to take photos of the headquarters and with the bulldog," said Ed Balukas, president of United Auto Workers Local 677, which represents Mack employees in the area. "It has been something to keep. To lose that has been gut-wrenching to a lot of people. There are generations of local Mack workers and Mack is in their blood."

Company officials notified employees of the bulldog's move in a company bulletin Friday, said John Walsh, a spokesman for Mack Trucks.

''We consider the statue uniquely linked to our corporate identity, and cannot imagine any Mack World Headquarters without it poised out front,'' Walsh said.

As the Mack brand logo, the bulldog sits atop the hood of many of the trucks the company has manufactured since the 1930s. It also adorns the desks of Mack employees, the caps of truck drivers and the sturdy boots of plant workers.

Mack's move from Allentown to Greensboro is part of the Volvo AB subsidiary's restructuring plan announced last August that will shift Mack's headquarters later this year to the same complex where fellow subsidiary Volvo Trucks North America is based.

Mack, which has been on Mack Boulevard since the early 1970s and a presence in the Lehigh Valley for more than 100 years, has said it will be shift roughly 600 employees to Greensboro as well.

There was opposition to moving the bulldog statue to Greensboro when the company announced its restructuring plan last year. Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski and some retired Mack employees have said the icon should stay in Allentown, at the America on Wheels museum that houses Mack bulldogs in its collection.

The 250,000-square-foot former Mack headquarters soon will house Lehigh Valley Health Network. Walsh said LVHN has agreed to maintain one Mack icon -- the illuminated bulldog sculpture on the front of the six-story concrete and glass building will stay put.

tyrone.richardson@mcall.com

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