Jim Crawley: 30 years and
Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 4, 2000
still trucking with Hudson
By JAINE TREADWELL
As a little boy, Jim Crawley spent much of his day playing in the dirt with trucks.
As a man with 30 years in the work force behind him, he’s still spending most of his day playing with trucks.
Crawley laughingly admitted that the price of his toys has changed over the years.
Today, he is vice president of transportation at the Hudson Companies and the big rigs for which he is responsible are far more costly than the tin-types he pushed around in his youth.
However, Crawley said he gets up every morning feeling like he is going out to play as opposed to going to work.
For him, there couldn’t be a better job nor could there be better people for whom to work. But, the opportunity came very close to not happening.
After his freshman year at Troy State, Crawley was offered a summer job but he didn’t really want it. But, believing in work, he decided to take what he could get.
However, fate had a hand in Crawley’s future.
Johnny Steed offered him a part time job at Brundidge Foods (now the Hudson Companies) and Crawley found Steed’s offer more to his liking.
He made decent pay at $1.60 an hour and did everything from loading trucks to working the line at the "mayonnaise plant."
"I have Johnny to blame or to thank," Crawley said, laughing.
When Crawley started back to college in the fall, his schedule left his afternoons free.
"That was at the time Mr. Hudson (Bill Hudson, owner of Brundidge Foods) was getting ready to build a new office and I was offered a high skilled job of cleaning the bricks," Crawley said.
Evidently, Crawley showed great promise as a loader of trucks and cleaner of bricks. When he graduated from TSU, he was offered a job as a manager trainee at Brundidge Foods.
"I didn’t want a job where I had to wear a tie, so I took it," he said, laughing. "That was 30 years ago and I’ve never regretted my decision."
Crawley has grown up with the company.
"To tell you how long ago that was, when I started the drinks in our break room were in a water-filled cooler and our snacks were thrown up on a wire rack," he said. "We had about 30 employees and now we have more than that in the lab alone. We had six trucks and six drivers and today we have
51 trucks and 60 drivers. Diesel fuel was 25 cents a gallon and today it’s that much and a dollar more."
Crawley said those first six trucks had no air conditioning and no power steering and driving them was a hot, sweaty, dirty job.
"Today, the trucks are as comfortable as most cars and we have drivers who are professional in every sense of the word," he said. "I’ve had an opportunity to work with some of the best people in the world. I owe a lot to the people who brought me here – Joe Jones, who gave me my first job, Harold Childs who was the first driver hired and, of course Bill Hudson. I didn’t get to work with him that many years but I am thankful to have had that opportunity."
Crawley said he started working for the Hudson family 30 years ago and he hopes to have the opportunity to finish his career at Hudson.
"I’m working for the second generation now, Paul Hudson, and the third generation will be here in a few years and I hope to have an opportunity to work for him," he said. "And who knows? I might even have a chance to work for a fourth generation Hudson. I’d really like that. Retiring isn’t in the cards for me right now."
Crawley and his wife Anne live in Troy. Mrs. Crawley is a nurse at Edge Regional Medical Center.
They have two children Shanda, who is with the Pike County Health Department, and Ben, a manager at Garrett’s IGA.