Keith Hudson – 2017 SC Time Dealer of the Year

Hudson is one of a select group of 49 Dealer nominees from across the country who will be honored at the 100th annual National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Convention & Exposition in New Orleans, Louisiana, on January 27, 2017.
“We are excited about the extraordinary group of nominees that are in the running for the 2017 TIME Dealer of the Year award,” said Russi. “These Dealers have been recognized for the ways that they ‘do it right’ in their communities, and we look forward to sharing their stories over the next few months and celebrating their accomplishments at the NADA convention in January.”
The TIME Dealer of the Year award is one of the automobile industry’s most prestigious and highly coveted honors. Recipients are among the nation’s most successful auto Dealers who also demonstrate a long-standing commitment to community service. Hudson, 47, was chosen to represent the South Carolina Automobile Dealers Association in the national competition – one of only 49 auto Dealers from 16,000 nationwide – nominated for the 48th annual award. The award is sponsored by TIME in association with Ally Financial, and in cooperation with NADA. A panel of faculty members from the Tauber Institute for Global Operations at the University of Michigan will select one finalist from each of the four NADA regions and one national Dealer of the Year.
“My father told me that if I wanted to work in the family car business one day that I would need to spend time in every department,” nominee Hudson said. “I truly believe that this career path has given me the tools needed for achieving financial strength and sustainable growth for our company – and has allowed me to meet and exceed the goals and objectives of the brands I represent.”
A 1987 graduate of Airport High School in Columbia, Hudson studied automotive marketing at Northwood University (now Keiser University) in West Palm Beach, Florida, graduating in 1991. He earned an M.B.A. in 1993 at Palm Beach Atlantic University Rinker School of Business, also in West Palm Beach.
Hudson started working at his father’s Dealership, Hudson-Moore Oldsmobile, at the age of 12 in 1980. “I started in the detail department that summer,” he remembered. “I would wash cars on Saturdays and in the summer for two years. After learning the importance of the detail department, I was ready to move on.”
He continued in that vein through high school and college, gaining experience and an in-depth knowledge of the workings of the entire Dealership, from the ground up. “I had the opportunity to stock parts and order inventory in the parts department; to estimate and work with insurance companies in the body shop; to learn the importance of scheduling and customer satisfaction in the service department; and to understand how to appraise, recondition and acquire used vehicles,” Hudson said. “After that, I knew the automotive business was the career path that I wanted to take.”
Hudson moved to Michigan after earning his M.B.A. in 1993 and took a job outside of the family operation at Pat Moran Oldsmobile GMC. After three years of studying how other successful Dealers ran their operations, he returned home to the Jim Hudson Automotive Group to apply his knowledge. Today, the group encompasses seven South Carolina Dealerships in Columbia, Irmo and Lexington.
“This whole journey was an amazing experience and one I would recommend to anyone wanting to work in a family business,” Hudson said. “I learned the value of each department and how it plays a vital role in the Dealership’s success.”
And that success is shared with the community through fundraising initiatives. In 2016, the Jim Hudson Automotive Group, through its annual sales race, donated $200,000 to Harvest Hope Food Bank, which feeds the hungry across 20 counties in South Carolina. Hudson also supports Oliver Gospel Mission in Columbia (provides shelter, food, clothing and counseling to the homeless and those in need), Special Olympics, the Salvation Army, and the American Red Cross.
A community and business leader, Hudson was named to the Airport High School Alumni Hall of Fame in 2009. “I was flattered to be recognized by teachers, staff and peers for my contributions,” he said. “I am honored to represent my public school and am proud of where I came from.”
Hudson was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by E. Sims Floyd, Jr., Executive Vice President of the South Carolina Automobile Dealers Association. Hudson and his wife, Denise, have two children.