James T. “Red” Hudson followed a path to success that lead from a Checkerboard Feed Store in Florida to being the founder of a $750 million food company. A son of the South, “Red” Hudson was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and raised in Tyner, Tennessee. He spent 26 years with Ralston-Purina before buying part of that company’s broiler business and in 1972, starting Hudson Foods in Rogers, Arkansas. Hudson Foods grew to include 14 main processing facilities in 10 states and employ about 8,300 people. Hudson stock began trading on the New York Stock Exchange Dec. 12, 1989, a significant milestone in the company’s impressive growth. Sales grew dramatically, with 1992 sales of more than $809 million. Hudson Foods became the nation’s seventh-largest producer of chicken products. And in spite of its great growth, the company retained its “family” spirit. During the company’s expansion years, son Michael T. Hudson joined Mr. Hudson. He became president and chief operating officer in August 1987. Another son, Jimmy Hudson, joined the company in 1976 and became vice president and director of Hudson’s Transportation Division. Mr. Hudson’s industry honors include chairman of the board of the National Broiler Council in 1982-1984 and past president of Arkansas Poultry Federation.