Hudson employees receive state awards

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 19, 2001

Features Editor

Hudson Transportation, Inc. employees, Rex Wesley and Kemmie Williams, were honored by the Alabama Trucking Association at its annual safety awards banquet in Birmingham April 9.

Wesley, shop supervisor for Hudson Transportation, was named the Alabama Trucking Association’s Maintenance Professional of the Year and Williams was named the association’s Driver of the Year.

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Steve Dewberry, Hudson’s director of safety and maintenance, said both men are very deserving of the state recognition.

"Rex and Kemmie are outstanding employees," he said. "We appreciate the work they do for us, day-in and day-out, year-in and year-out. For them to be named to the highest awards given by the Alabama Trucking Association is a great honor and we congratulate them."

Dewberry said the Maintenance Professional of the Year Award is given by the state trucking association to honor significant contributions to highway safety in the state of Alabama through effective maintenance programs.

"This is the first time a Hudson Transportation employee has received the state maintenance award and there are more than 700 trucking companies in the state, so that shows what an honor this is for Rex and for Hudson," Dewberry said. "Because of Rex’s professionalism and know-how, our drivers are confident when they leave the yard that they will come back without having any major breakdowns. That also equates into customer confidence that deliveries will be made on time."

Wesley has more than 35 years experience in the maintenance field and has worked for Hudson Transportation for 13 years.

"I had worked for the Army National Guard for 19 years and I saw where they had an opening at Hudson and I applied for it and got it," Wesley said. "This is a great place to work and I’m proud of the award, but this belongs to all of the people in our shop, too. Without them, I wouldn’t have even been nominated. This award is for all of us."

Wesley started at Hudson as a mechanic and worked his way up to shop supervisor.

His program oversees 50 tractors, 109 trailers and 77 refrigeration units.

Dewberry said Wesley has developed sound cost-effectiveness and cost control measures, including a reduction in the maintenance cost per mile from 6.92 cents in 1999 to 3.63 cents in 2000.

"The tire maintenance program he established for us has reduced our tire costs from 1.79 cents per mile in 1999 to 1.04 cents per mile in 2000," Dewberry said. "For that and all he does, Rex is very deserving of this statewide recognition and so is Kemmie who has been an outstanding driver for us for 13 years."

The Driver of the Year Award is give each year by the Alabama Trucking Association’s Safety and Maintenance Management Council to recognize the state’s best and safest commercial vehicle operators.

"Kemmie has twice been the Hudson Transportation Driver of the Year and placed third in the state association’s awards program last year," Dewberry said. "This year, he received the driver of the year award for the state and, when you consider there are thousands of professional truck drivers, this is quite an honor,"

Williams has been a professional truck driver for 19 years and has logged more than 2 million miles without an accident. In addition to driving a big-rig, Williams participates in the "No Zone" programs presented by the Alabama Trucking Association to Alabama high school driver’s classes and has taken part in similar programs for Montgomery’s non-trucking industry.

Williams is a regular at both the spring and fall Talladega races as a "No Zone" display volunteer and speaks to the general public about how to share the road with a truck.

"I was excited to receive the award," Williams said. "Since I came in third last year, I thought I might have a chance, but I wasn’t counting on it. I drive professionally about 125,000 miles a year and I want every one of them to be a safe mile, for me and for everybody else on the road with me."

Williams said safety always comes first and sometimes that means driving for yourself and for others.

"You know what you’re going to do, but you don’t know about the person in the vehicle next to you or behind you or in front of you," he said. "You have to always be alert."

Being always "safety conscious" has earned Williams several driving awards and he hopes his next 2 million miles will be as safe as the last.

"I like driving and I drive a lot of places," he said. "I like the West – Colorado, Montana, Oregon and Washington – but my favorite place is home."

Wesley and his wife Rita have one daughter, Angie and one grandson.

Williams and his wife Vickie have two children, Amanda and Kelyn, and two grandsons.

Hudson Transportation is truckload carrier operating 50 trucks in 48 states. The company has garnered safety awards for 16 of the last 20 years and has had drivers recognized for safety, not only by the Alabama Association, but also by the Alabama Safety Council, Wilco and

Ryder truck rentals, The Continental Insurance Companies, USF&G and The Cincinnati Company.

The company has also been honored by the Alabama Trucking Association with the President’s Safety Award in 1979, 1989 and 1997 and the driver of the year award in 1997.