Hudson, Averitt Share Strong Bond
COOKEVILLE – As part of his occupational health practice, Dr. Toney Hudson works with about 250 companies throughout a 10-county area. One long-lasting association Hudson has is his partnership with Averitt Express.
“The relationship started 40 years ago,” Hudson says. “I moved to Cookeville with my family in 1976, and I met many of the Averitt associates and management team – most everybody in the organization. They were my patients in my private clinical practice of internal medicine.”
Through the years, that relationship grew and evolved. In 1988, the federal government mandated drug-testing for commercial vehicle drivers, and Hudson became a certified medical review officer and helped Averitt set up its drug-testing program.
Averitt chairman and chief executive officer Gary Sasser strengthened the relationship even further through his and Hudson’s common interest in promoting health and disease prevention.
“In the late 80s, Gary and I had a lot of discussions about promoting good health and disease prevention,” Hudson recalled. “That’s always been a significant area of interest and passion for he and I.”
Those discussions helped lay the foundation for Averitt’s health initiatives, as well as what is now Averitt’s on-site Wellness Center. Today, Hudson continues to oversee Averitt’s drug-testing efforts, as well as workman’s compensation reviews, driver fitness evaluations and much more.
“Dr. Hudson has been an incredible resource through the years for our team,” said Averitt president and chief operating officer Wayne Spain. “His expertise in occupational health has brought us great value, and we’re thankful for the strong relationship we continue to have.”
CONSISTENT CULTURE ACROSS THE MAP
Hudson meets associates while they are in Cookeville for orientation. He makes note of where they’re from and places a pin on the map noting their state or country of birth. Today, it includes pins in all 50 states and more than 100 countries around the world.
“About four years ago, I took note that we were seeing a lot of individuals with diverse backgrounds,” Hudson said. “Of course, I did not have any idea that it would become that expansive.”
Regardless of where associates call home, Hudson has noticed a consistent cultural perspective from Averitt’s associates.
“The best ambassadors for Averitt are the people who are already working and driving with Averitt,” he said. “I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard new associates tell me, ‘I’ve talked to dozens of people from Averitt, and I didn’t hear a single one say anything negative.’ That’s really rare in the transportation industry.”
40 YEARS AND COUNTING
Hudson is thankful for his professional interaction with Averitt.
“It’s been a cooperative effort beyond my wildest dreams,” he said. “I treasure and place a lot of value on that interaction. I have a great deal of respect for the company and its associates. I’ve built a lot of good, lasting friendships and synergy over the years, and I look forward to the years that are coming.”
For Hudson, his relationship with Averitt and other companies has been and always will be about one thing – treating individuals with respect and making a difference in their lives.
“Every time you meet someone, you have an opportunity to make an impact, positive or negative,” he said. “You try to take advantage of those situations, and you just have a good time at it, be passionate about what you do, and treat everybody with respect and the dignity that they deserve. And when you lie down at night, you can sleep peacefully, be thankful for the day and get ready for the next one.”