The History of Global Worldwide International

As a young supply sergeant in World War II, our founder, Preston Firestone IV, was sent to the Philippines to string telegraph wires and rebuild churches. He learned a whole lot about logistics and bought his first truck upon his return home to Milwaukee. With great ambition he named the fledgling company Global Worldwide International.

Little did he know that his simple operation would soon become a company that could do anything, anywhere.

In 1953, after a meeting with General (soon to be President) Eisenhower, the general asked Preston, “Can you bring this stuff over there?” At that moment, Preston coined GWI’s inspirational motto: “Whatever” — not knowing that decades later it would become an anthem for slacker teens everywhere.

For many years, GWI was known for taking on projects of minimal complexity and little public acclaim. Anywhere they went, that’s where they were.

Throughout the 1960s, after a protracted lawsuit with PanAm over logo design, GWI used its contacts in the military-industrial complex and the pop art movement to undertake a series of increasingly low-profile operations. The former darling of Malcolm Forbes’ growing media empire entered decades of quietly moving things where they had to be.

The 1980s-leveraged buyout boom pushed GWI into a series of creative enterprises including shoe polish remanufacture, the Caribbean’s largest producer of cigar-band adhesive, and an ahead-of-its-time venture into the miracle properties of coconut water. As the Michael Milken/Ivan Boesky trials riveted the world of finance, GWI had no involvement in that whatsoever.

When the ninth-generation owners of this still-family-controlled business took charge, GWI re-undiversified and prepared for the upcoming dotcom boom by quietly acquiring a controlling interest in a major manufacturer of bubble soap. Going with the fashion of the times, the company changed its name from “The Global World-wide International” to just “Global WorldWide InterNational” and added a swoosh to the logo.

These days, while no longer the household name that used to host bachelorette parties for friends of Elvis and Nixon, it continues plodding along gracefully from a former produce warehouse near Walnut Creek in Austin, Texas.

No one knows what the future holds for the stalwart GWI, but they’ll probably do it in lots of places.